The newly opened Sandy Springs location of a controversial sex shop chain is an illegal “adult bookstore” and has been cited for a code violation, according to the city.

The Tokyo Valentino store’s property at 6074 Roswell Road is not zoned for an adult bookstore, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said, and the shop has until Dec. 20 to reduce its sex-related merchandise displays to meet the code. Owner Michael Morrison did not immediately respond to a comment request.

Tokyo Valentino is an Atlanta-based chain of self-described “erotiques” or “erotic boutiques,” which sells adult costumes, sex toys and videos. The Sandy Springs location opened the week of Dec. 1.

A sign on the front of the building road for the new Tokyo Valentino location in Sandy Springs.

According to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun, a recent inspection of the store found that more than 25% of the floor area is devoted to merchandise that has an “emphasis upon the display of specified sexual activities.” She said that makes the store meet the code’s legal definition of an adult bookstore.

A display of lubricants inside the Tokyo Valentino store in Sandy Springs.(Hannah Greco)

The shop is about two blocks away from the new arts and civic complex City Springs. It falls within the City Springs zoning district, which permits “adult establishments,” according to the zoning’s allowed use table. But Kraun said an “adult bookstore” is not allowed there under the current zoning.

The nature of the business has been a source of curiosity and controversy for months.

Previously, Morrison said the Sandy Springs store would not be a branch of the chain and would instead be a new venture called Dancer’s Elite Wear, which would sell clothing, shoes and other accessories. “The store opening in Sandy Springs is not Tokyo Valentino,” Morrison said in a written message on Oct. 21. “It’s called “Dancer’s Elite Wear.”

Kraun said Morrison applied for a business license in August to include the sale of clothing, shoes, small electronics and bath and body merchandise. But in October, Morrison requested an amendment of the business license, Kraun said. That amendment changed the business’s name to Tokyo Valentino and sought a modification in the products and goods sold to include “smoking accessories, lingerie and a minimal percentage of adult goods.”

Morrison owns Tokyo Valentino locations on Cheshire Bridge Road and Northside Drive in Atlanta, Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth and Cobb Parkway in Marietta. Morrison also runs a smaller store called Stardust on Buford Highway in Brookhaven. Morrison is currently involved in legal battles with the cities of Atlanta and Brookhaven over the local stores.

According to reports from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Morrison recently won an appeal against the city of Atlanta for trying to shut down the Cheshire Bridge store. The city has been trying to close the shop for years, but in June, a federal appeals court threw out an injunction from the city to shut down his store and said Morrison can challenge the constitutionality of Atlanta’s adult entertainment ordinance.

Morrison has been in a legal battle over the Stardust store in Brookhaven as well. In February, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued that Stardust was in contempt for going against a lower court’s ruling to stop operations because it violates a Brookhaven ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses, but the shop remains open.

The city of Sandy Springs recently finished a 12-year fight against sex shops and strip clubs in the area, leaving only one store selling adult entertainment items open within city limits, Love Shack located at 5674 Roswell Road. No strip clubs are still open within city limits.

Hannah Greco is writer and media communications specialist based in Atlanta.