By Paul Gable
As Horry County Council prepares for second reading Tuesday night of its proposed ordinances on adult entertainment establishments, it is important to consider just what changes will result.
The new ordinances will change regulations concerning the site, manner and time of operations of adult entertainment establishments, in the unincorporated areas, but will not eliminate their existence.
This is an important point – there will still be adult entertainment establishments in the county. Not only will those operating within the city limits of Myrtle Beach and Atlantic Beach be unaffected by any changes, but also areas in the unincorporated county will be wide open for adult entertainment.
There seemed to be confusion about this at the recent county council ad hoc committee meeting on the new ordinances. Several preachers presented petitions to or addressed the committee urging members to do their part in helping rid the county of these types of businesses.
That isn’t happening folks. The county’s consultant attorney on the new ordinances, Scott Bergthold, admitted to committee members it is unconstitutional to ban adult entertainment establishments from a public jurisdiction.
That’s why the ordinances proposed by Bergthold seek to regulate the site, manner and time of adult entertainment business operations.
The current 11 adult entertainment establishments operating in unincorporated Horry County will all be negatively affected. They may have to move their locations or close down.
However, adult entertainment establishments in county areas may become much more visual, according to county maps sent by Horry County Planning Director Janet Carter sent to Horry County council member Marion Foxworth at his request. The maps are attached at the end of this article.
According to those maps, locations in the county that are currently zoned for and meet spacing requirements set forth by the new ordinances basically are located within four areas of the county.
Two of those are in the US 501 corridor from just south of Coastal Carolina University to the intersection of US 501 and US 17 Bypass. In other words, adult entertainment establishments can legally be located in the main corridor used by tourists to travel to the beach. That should do wonders for the desired family beach image.
Additionally, they can be located near and impact, with traffic and otherwise, one of the fastest growing and most densely populated areas in the county – Carolina Forest.
The other two areas are around the Hwy 544/US 17 Bypass intersection and near the intersection of Hwy 319 and US 701N just west of Conway.
Passage of the new ordinances is virtually guaranteed to cause the county to be sued by all the existing adult entertainment businesses affected by those ordinances. Those lawsuits go on for a long time, 4-6 years is not uncommon with many motions and answers that will see the attorneys involved burning out their cash registers raking in the money for their services.
To some this is a moral issue. To me it is a monetary one. I support county council in its endeavors to establish better regulations over adult entertainment.
However, the current ordinances appear to be leaning more toward enriching the retirement account of Bergthold with hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars rather than solving any problems that exist in the current operations and conduct of adult entertainment establishments.
View the maps: mapsmfoxworth