The Horry County Council isn’t looking to throw singles at adult entertainment establishments, but rather regulations.
County officials say some laws currently on the books concerning those businesses in Horry County are outdated and need to be updated.
Proposed ordinance changes include regulations on where the establishments can locate within the unincorporated areas of Horry County and on those who might want to work at the businesses.
Council will consider a first reading the proposed changes at its June 4 meeting, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman, via email.
“We need to modernize and update our code,” said county attorney Arrigo Carotti.
Attempts to reach managers at the establishments on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Bourcier said adult entertainment establishments can’t be banned, but the county can regulate the time, place and manner of operation.
The proposed ordinance also states County Council finds the establishments are frequently used for unlawful sexual activities like prostitution.
If the ordinances pass three readings and becomes law, those wanting to operate or work at an adult entertainment establishment must fill out an application at the office of the Horry County Chief of Police.
A person cannot apply to work at an adult establishment if they’ve been convicted of a specific crime, including prostitution, the ordinance states.
The police chief can revoke an operator’s license if they have allowed drugs, prostitution or employees under the age of 18 on the premises.
“We have made multiple arrests regarding prostitution, drugs, assaults at these types of establishments in the past,” Bourcier said.
Specific statistics weren’t immediately available Thursday, but in December, Gerard Antonio Watts was charged with attempted murder, unlawful possession of a pistol and possession of a violent crime during the commission of crime following a shooting that occurred at the former Club Crush, an adult entertainment establishment that was at 4803 U.S. 17 Bypass.
Club Crush was shut down due to public nuisance by the solicitor’s office, Bourcier said.
As the county considers these proposed ordinances, it’s also involved in a lawsuit filed by the owner of The Gold Club Gentlemen’s Club.
Carotti said the owner filed the lawsuit in federal district court after the county’s zoning board of appeals upheld a denial to not grant him a license to open a restaurant and bar in Restaurant Row.
The lawsuit was filed April 3, according to court documents.
Little River attorney Kenneth Moss, who represents The Gold Club’s owner, said the county is making the assumption the new business would also be an adult establishment because of the existing business.
Moss used the analogy of denying a driver’s license because the driver might get in a car and speed.
The lawsuit seeks an order reversing the decision of the Horry County Board of Zoning Appeals, as well as compensatory damages.