By Paul Gable
The Horry County Council Ad Hoc Committee on Sexually Oriented Business Legislation voted unanimously Thursday to send the proposed two adult entertainment regulating ordinances back to full county council for second reading recommending approval as they are currently written.
The two ordinances address zoning regulations for adult entertainment establishments as well as conduct inside the establishments.
According to Scott Burkhold, the Tennessee attorney the county is consulting on the legislation, the ordinances will restrict the time, manner and place of adult entertainment. He said the ordinances do not ban adult entertainment, which is constitutionally protected, but do force businesses to comply with the new regulations.
It’s important to note that passage of these ordinances, which appears a virtual certainty, will not end strip clubs and bookstore/novelty adult entertainment businesses in Horry County. The six adult entertainment establishments located within city limits will not be affected by these ordinances. They are governed by the city laws within which they are located.
The 11 identified adult entertainment establishments (8 strip clubs and 3 bookstore/novelty shops) currently operating in the unincorporated areas of the county will be affected. According to county attorney Arrigo Carotti, none of the 11 will be in compliance under the provisions of the new ordinances.
None of the 11 will meet the new setback provisions of the zoning ordinance and their manner of operation, lap dances for example, are prohibited under the new conduct ordinance.
However, the operations of services such as topless maids, topless caddies and escorts will not be affected by these ordinances. Nor will roving stripper buses, stripper helicopters, or stripper cruises if they surface as a result. (The golfers will still have some options.)
Additionally, if the ordinances receive two more successful readings passing them into law, Burkhold said they would not be enforced against the existing 11 adult entertainment establishments operating in the unincorporated areas of the county until a court ruling on the constitutionality of the ordinances is obtained.
Council member Marion Foxworth supported the ordinances but raised some questions as to whether sufficient locations within the county are available, under the provisions of the new zoning ordinance amendment, to pass constitutional challenges.
It is unconstitutional for the county to pass a law which totally prohibits the possibility of establishment of adult entertainment clubs.
Burkhold told committee members that it is crucial to pass these ordinances so the county’s position in current litigation with the Gold Club, which is looking to open a second strip club in the old Dollhouse site on restaurant row, is not jeopardized.
It’s fair to say these ordinances wouldn’t even be up for consideration if the county was not currently being sued by the Gold Club.
The county’s current ordinance on adult entertainment ordinance was struck down 13 years ago for vague or general language and nothing was done to correct it until the Gold Club case was filed.
Like we said before, the lawyers will be the greatest beneficiaries of the new ordinances.