The Adult Entertainment Issue Churns On – Udated

UPDATE – What’s coming up for third reading, September 3rd, of the adult entertainment ordinances?

We hope that it is a standing room crowd to remind each and EVERY councilmember that we’re not the only ones who think this is a railroad job of a terrible idea. It’s high time we get John Rhodes to chime in on his thoughts of simply transferring the businesses out further to greet the tourists a little bit sooner. It’s high time that all Councilmember remove their personal religious beliefs (after all, there is a separation of church and State still, isn’t there?) and stop letting Scott Bergthold spoon feed you misinformation.

We love the upcoming sound bites “We’re not going to close any of these businesses” Per Mark Lazarus at first Reading. “We must reserve 55 square miles of usable space for this to hold up in Court” Per Gary Loftus at I&R Committee Meeting. “Janet, you took the dynamics out of the document when you limited them to HC, a zoning classification that no longer exists – you cannot rezone to HC…. I have a real problem with this” Per Marion Foxworth. “You must have at least five percent of the county’s land area that is usable and complies for this to be Constitutional and hold up in Court” Per Scott Bergthold I&R Committee Meeting.

How come WPDE says that we can’t come to Carolina Forest, but WMBF and WBTW say we can? You know why, because you, Janet and this overly broad ordinance have the media more confused than the Council. The meeting last night was an embarrassing stumbling shuffle. Our own Planning Director can’t even tell Council where we can go. It’s become as big game of “Where’s Waldo” suddenly you can go here … no wait! Overlay! Can’t go there. Oooops, deed restriction, can’t go there! So folks, where CAN we go?

So, is it “soft-pedal” or are some talking out both sides here? Don’t be railroaded. Don’t be fooled. Keep in mind John Weaver and Roland Meyer are still out there. The folks at Business License are still there too. They are all our witnesses that Airport Express Video, LLC did not apply to be a restaurant or bar. We applied to be a video, book and novelty store. We were allowed on paper, signed off on by the county to have those booths. Don’t take our word for it, call John Weaver and ask him. For that matter, call Janet – she was there too. Seven or eight years of business license renewals speak volumes. Use Change certificate showing the rooms, clearly labeled “video preview rooms” speaks volumes. The topless clubs may be illegal, but we certainly are not.

But you know what, there’s more traffic on 501 in Carolina forest and a mega store there sure would make lots of money! When can we apply for our new permits?

Enjoy your weekend. Third reading is coming up pretty quick, and this debacle is “fixin’ to get interesting!”

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After the meeting between county government officials and members of the Carolina Forest Civic Association on adult entertainment sites Wednesday night, we received the following email from Todd Martin, Corporate Spokesperson for Airport Entertainment Video, LLC:

Press Release

Representatives of our organization were in attendance at tonight’s Carolina Forest Civic Association meeting. Janet Carter offered, yet again, another vague and misleading presentation. She cannot identify specific parcels of property on the Carolina Forest 501 corridor, yet she continually refers to them. While these overly broad, Constitutionally defective proposed ordinances were discussed, the folks in Carolina Forest did not receive one bit of clarification or further information than what has already been reported by the media.

After Ms. Carter’s presentation concluded, our representatives met with several members of County Council and posed the following question to Council Chairman Mark Lazarus: “Are you aware at the initial Infrastructure and Regulation meeting several months ago that County Councilman Gary Loftus directly asked your ‘legal expert’ (and Horry County’s attorney for adult entertainment related issues) Scott Bergthold this question – “Are you telling us that we have to reserve at least five percent of the land area of this county for adult entertainment?”

Mr. Bergthold replied to him, “At a minimum yes, for these ordinances to be Constitutional and stand up in court.” Mr. Loftus then replied, “So at our area this would mean about 55 square miles of the County?” Mr. Bergthold replied “yes”.

“Mr. Lazarus, are you aware that there isn’t 55 square miles of Highway Commercial zoned property (because they did away with HC about six years ago and you can’t re-zone to HC any longer) in the entire county, let alone 55 square miles that is legally usable for adult entertainment?”

Mr. Lazarus’s reply was “this is the first I am hearing of this.” Our next question was “so correct us if we are wrong, but if you go back and watch the video of that meeting and hear your own “legal expert” who you pay a good bit of money to, say exactly that, then you would agree that you are about to have Third Reading and most likely pass an ordinance which you already know to be Constitutionally defective – as advised by your own attorney? Mr. Lazarus then replied, “Well, that’s what they make courts for.”

To the overburdened taxpayers of Horry County – please remember, after these ordinances are railroaded through, and after about eight businesses sue Horry County and win, and after they all relocate to the Carolina Forest area (and we have offers and bids out on six different parcels in that area to either purchase or lease them), the Chairman of Horry County Council was told and offered evidence that the ordinances are unconstitutional on their face. Councilman Marion Foxworth repeatedly has tried to tell staff this, and unfortunately, each and every time, it falls on deaf ears.

When we move to your Forest, please don’t be mad at us, be mad at Janet Carter and County Council, because we tried to forewarn them and avoid this. When you can’t get proper police and fire protection, when re-assessment happens and the budget is upside down and they start cutting, please be thankful that Janet Carter and County Council utilized millions of your valuable tax dollars to literally shuffle adult entertainment establishments from one end of 501 to the other. After our representatives witnessed the meeting tonight, one thing is for certain, no one in Horry County Government can give the citizens of this County a straight answer or any guarantee whatsoever as to where these businesses can move to. We truly feel that they don’t honestly know themselves and tonight their “legal expert” wasn’t there to make an end run when questions were asked.

It almost seems Mr. Bergthold has staff believing that if you make the rules strict enough that no one will think that following them will be profitable. Our business has been around for many years, and we look forward to the grand opening of our new multi-story mega store coming soon to Highway 501 in Carolina Forest. We doubt that it can even be humanly possible to occur in the proposed 90-day window, but sometimes it takes action to make believers. Thanks to Planning Director Janet Carter’s guidance and direction, you will be able to – in one trip – get your car washed, shop at Kroger, get a Dunkin Donut and even buy a sex toy all conveniently over in Carolina Forest. After all, variety is the spice of life!

 

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