Imagine you’re living in a “round” house for over 30 years. Your parents have passed away and now you are living in it with your children. Then one day, your neighborhood started to change. New people were tearing down the “round” homes and building “square” homes. One day you get a letter that says the neighborhood association doesn’t like your “round” home because it doesn’t fit their image of the neighborhood; that it doesn’t comply with their “square” homes; that it’s bringing their property values down. They are not giving you a choice. They are simply saying you must move out in 4 years because you have lived there enough. You have no choice in the matter because the City has passed a legislation that says this action is legal. So without any compensation, you have 4 years to go earn enough money to buy a new home. You are not allowed to sell your current home because they are simply taking it away from you.
It sounds unbelievable and there is no way this could happen in this country, right? Wrong. This is exactly what is happening to small, local, family-owned businesses on Cheshire Bridge Rd.
Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan and his supporters in the NPU-F are proposing a legislation that will do away with the "grandfather clause" which will close down numerous businesses on Cheshire Bridge Rd. Although businesses, such as Kong's Body Shop, have been a fixture on Cheshire Bridge Road for over 27 years, councilman Wan and NPU-F want to close them down. Kong's opened their doors in 1986, ten years later the City and the NPU-F proposed a zoning change in 1996 from C(Commercial) to NC(Neighborhood Commercial). Businesses, such as Kong's, were protected under the "grandfather clause" which allowed businesses to operate under the new zoning regulations. This begs the question, what incentive is there for businesses if future zoning changes would put them out? Wan and his supporters are proposing a “Sunset Legislation” that will give the businesses operating under the “grandfather clause” to recoup their investments in 4 years! Initially, the proposal gave businesses 2 years, but was increased to 4 after much protest. With no help to relocate and no compensation from the City or the NPU-F, Kong’s and businesses like his will be thrown out. Kong’s, a small, second generation family-owned and operated business, sunk in their entire lives in the family business. How are they supposed to recoup the 27 years of investment in 4 years? Members of the NPU-F believe this is fair. This petition is to show support to the business owners impacted by the legislation that this is NOT fair. Not only will the passing of the legislation destroy many small businesses and their owners’ livelihood on Cheshire Bridge Rd, it would also set a dangerous precedent for future legislations and impede upon the rights of small businesses in the community.
Lastly, it’s just wrong!
This issue will go before the Zoning Review Board on
May 9th 6:00 PM
Atlanta City Hall Council Chambers, Second Floor.
55. Trinity Ave. Atlanta, GA 30303.
Please come and show your support against this horrible legislation.
In 1999, Mr. Kong was diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 prostate cancer. At the time their son, Sung, was working as an engineer in California. His parents did not want the body shop life for him but Sung, being the only child, had no choice. He packed up and came home. It wasn’t his intention to run the family business, but that’s what he ended up doing. He gave up his engineering career and took over the business. Mr. Kong passed the following year.
Since Sung took over, the business has been growing steadily. In 2004 he got married and opened a hand car wash next to the body shop. They have 2 beautiful daughters and have built their entire lives around this business. They also bought a house walking distance from the business.
I wanted to give you a little history behind the business this legislation is throwing out. Kong’s Body Shop cannot recoup their investment in 4 years. One of the folks in the NPU meeting said they want to throw Kong’s out because somebody told them people from Marietta didn’t want to come into town because of Cheshire Bridge. They said it was an embarrassment. It might be an embarrassment to them, but to Kong’s, it’s their hard work, sweat, and lives. Please reconsider this legislation and vote it down. If you throw Kong’s out, they have nowhere to go. Their lives would be destroyed.