By Paul Gable
Momentum for a new strip club ordinance being considered by Horry County Council is slowing as some council members are realizing there are better ways to spend tax dollars than defending bad laws in court.
This is not to say that Horry does not need a new ordinance governing the licensing and operations of strip clubs. It does. The current ordinance is expected to be struck down as unconstitutional in federal court as part of a lawsuit the county currently finds itself having to defend.
But, the realization that replacing one bad ordinance with another will only bring ever spiraling attorney’s fees is beginning to dawn on some council members.
A new ordinance, drawn up for county staff by an anti-strip club ‘uber’ lawyer in Tennessee, passed first reading of council last week.
However, rather than being scheduled for second reading in the upcoming Tuesday June 18, 2013 regular meeting of council, a workshop is being planned for further discussion of the issue before any more formal votes are taken.
The new ordinance, as it passed first reading, would effectively shut down all strip clubs operating in Horry County.
While this may not be a big deal in other counties, whether you like it or not, strip clubs are a part of the tourist offerings in Horry County. They are especially patronized by the golfers who spend big money in the county in the spring and fall shoulder seasons.
Whether they are desirable attractions or not is not germane to the current discussion. They have been part of the tourist scene since at least 1988 when the Doll House first opened for business.
Several council members voted for the ordinance at first reading after jumping on the morality bandwagon.
Horry County does not need its council members acting as the moral conscience of the county. It needs them looking at the best ways to spend limited tax revenue and resisting any urge to grow government.
There has been quite enough growth in the government’s reach into the private sector over the past four years. It is past time to reverse that trend.
Hopefully a reasoned approach to a new strip club ordinance will result in good legislation without landing the county in court where it will only waste hundreds of thousands of dollars.