Proposed regulations against adult entertainment establishments in Horry County will again be a topic of conversation.
Specifically, the Horry County Planning and Zoning Commission is looking at proposed zoning regulations for these businesses, including on those who want to work at the businesses.
The Commission will discuss the issue Thursday before the proposed zoning ordinance moves forward to a June 6 public hearing before the planning commission.
At their June 4 meeting, the Horry County Council will consider first reading of these ordinances.
For at least one owner of an area adult entertainment business, the ordinances seem fair in that officials are trying to get all such establishments to comply.
What he doesn’t want is the ordinances to harm these businesses.
“We’re not sure why the county hasn’t asked for a meeting and tried to resolve some of the matters that they have,” said Mike Rose, owner of The Gold Club.
The zoning ordinance essentially creates a 1,500-foot buffer between any adult entertainment establishments and residential areas, schools and churches. Additionally, any of these businesses would be required to have 1,000 feet between them.
Tennessee attorney Scott Bergthold, whose practice focuses on the drafting and defense of municipal adult business regulations, told the county’s infrastructure and regulation committee on May 16 that none of these businesses located in the unincorporated parts of Horry County are more than 1,500 feet away from residential areas.
Some, he added, are just 75 to 100 feet away.
Bergthold said the aim of the ordinances is to update and modernize Horry County’s laws that deal with adult entertainment establishments.
“You can’t ban adult businesses. You have to have some place for them to go,” he said.
Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman, said via email that the county had to look at each business that already is in violation of zoning restrictions on a case-by-case basis.
Zoning regulations are just the first plan of attack for Horry County in regulating adult entertainment establishments.
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.
County officials want to update their ordinances and to respond to what they see as a growing issue with prostitution and drugs at these businesses.
Rose said that same problem pertains to any club in Horry County.
He’s currently involved in a lawsuit against the county.
County attorney Arrigo Carotti previously said the lawsuit was filed in federal district court after the county’s zoning board of appeals upheld a denial to not grant Rose 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 Rose, has said the county is making the assumption the new business would also be an adult establishment because of the existing business.
Rose declined to get into specifics about he lawsuit, but said the way the ordinances currently exist makes it harder for adult entertainment business owners to comply.
``It’s been pretty vague and they are wanting to interpret things a little different,’’ he said.