By Paul Gable
An Ad Hoc Committee of Horry County Council will take the next three months to consider recommendations that will strongly regulate but not eliminate strip clubs and other adult entertainment establishments in the county.
The committee will consist of council members Harold Worley (chairman), Bob Grabowski, Paul Price, Brent Schulz, Marion Foxworth and Jody Prince. Staff members who will assist the committee are Infrastructure and Regulation Division Director Steve Gosnell, Planning Division Director Janet Carter and Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes.
The appointment of the ad hoc committee by council chairman Mark Lazarus resulted from discussion at a special June 24, 2013 workshop. A majority of council members were not willing to adopt an extremely stringent ordinance drawn up for the county by an attorney in Tennessee, specializing in this type of law.
The overriding concern of council is to strengthen regulation of these types of businesses, eliminating the questionable activities that are alleged to operate in darkened back rooms of some of them, while not subjecting the county to seemingly endless court cases over the constitutionality of the businesses’ right to exist.
While this may seem relatively easy, it is not. The county has seen three ordinances attempting to regulate these businesses, over the last 13 years, go down in flames when challenged in court.
The current discussions resulted from an attempt by county staff to rush through the extremely strict ordinance so it could be considered in a court case currently pending in federal court where the county is being challenged on denial of a business license at the old Dollhouse location in Restaurant Row.
Rather than rush completion of a new ordinance, the committee will consider options and report back to full council by the September 17, 2013 regularly scheduled meeting.