By Paul Gable
Horry County passed second reading of its new adult entertainment ordinances at its regular meeting Tuesday night bringing its day in court closer.
Passage of third reading seems assured next month and as council chairman Mark Lazarus said, the next day he expects the current adult entertainment establishments operating in the unincorporated areas of Horry County to be in Florence filing for injunctive relief.
While all of the current adult entertainment businesses will be out of compliance with the new ordinances, adult entertainment will not be removed from the unincorporated areas.
Areas in the county will be available for these businesses to relocate should they lose in court and not be able to stay in their current location.
Speaking of court, the county is not protected by its insurance carrier, with respect to damages, if it loses in court. County costs and damages will be paid from tax dollars
Suffice it to say, considerable amounts of money will be spent with lawyers on both sides of this issue over the next several years. The lawyers win either way, the taxpayers lose.
At the end of all the court cases, even if the county wins every case, there will still be adult entertainment establishments operating in the county.
This is not a moral issue, it is not a family values or family beach issue, it is a constitutional issue and the county cannot outlaw legally sited and operating adult entertainment businesses. Hearing comments from the public and some of the council members, I don’t believe this fact is truly understood even now.
The next few years should be very interesting, as well as costly to the taxpayers of the county, and the end result may be no different than it is today, except for the locations the businesses operate in.
The following e-mail was received from Todd Martin of Airport Express Video, LLC, which shows the general direction in which this is going:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Airport Express Video was optimistically hopeful that the good gentlemen of the Horry County Council would have listened to the learned wisdom of both former Chairman Liz Gilland and 20+ year member Harold Worley and delayed Third Reading of the proposed ordinance. Apparently Scott Bergthold is so dead-set on funding his retirement account that he has all of county staff, including Planning Director Janet Carter “drinking the kool aid” on his quest to bankrupt Horry County in his litigious endeavors. On that note, Airport Express Video, LLC has engaged the services of one of the United States’ top Constitutional legal minds and “if” these ordinances pass Third Reading on September 3, 2013 – we will be in Federal Court in Florence on September 4, 2013 seeking a judicial injunction to stay any enforcement of these vague, misleading and unconstitutional ordinances.
Councilman Marion Foxworth has repeatedly tried to explain with great detail why these ordinances are potentially Constitutionally defective and his pleas have apparently fallen on deaf ears. Therefore, we are left with no other viable option other than protracted litigation, which at the request of Councilman Gary Loftus we delayed – so “this can be dissected and broke down.” It is patently apparent that there is nothing to dissect or breakdown and it is quite obvious that Mr. Bergthold does not want any derivation or resolution by the acting businesses as it would then prevent the very litigation under which he will surely retire.
Airport Express Video,