Myrtle Beach set to pass adult business ordinance that is ‘90 percent status quo’

03/12/2014 10:37 PM

03/13/2014 8:05 AM

There will be one less place in Myrtle Beach where a sexually oriented business would be allowed if City Council passes second reading of an ordinance that adopts new zoning rules and updates definitions of terms in the law.

A location near Executive Avenue and Grissom Parkway, where someone had requested to open a strip club, will not be eligible for such a business under the new law, if approved.

In January, the City Council issued a moratorium on issuing business licenses to sexually oriented businesses while the planning department researched its ordinance regulating those establishments. That moratorium would be lifted if City Council passes second reading, which could happen at the March 25 meeting.

“We hadn’t looked at that ordinance in years and in light of the county’s changes, City Council wanted the planning commission to take a closer look,” said city spokesman Mark Kruea.

Last year, Horry County Council changed its zoning ordinance to restrict adult-themed businesses to one of three zoned areas in the county – highway commercial, limited industrial and heavy industrial. It also forced the businesses to be at least 1,500 feet from certain structures, such as residential properties, churches and day cares.

A conduct ordinance, also passed by Horry County Council last year, prevents adult-themed businesses from being open between midnight and 6 a.m. The ordinance sets stricter rules for businesses with viewing booths and prevents nudity.

“We’re not inclined to swing the pendulum as far as they were,” city attorney Tom Ellenburg said of the County Council. City staff “presented a version which reflects 85 to 90 percent status quo.”

Ellenburg said the Myrtle Beach ordinance, which passed first reading Tuesday, “protects” Mr. Joe White Avenue, Robert Grissom Parkway and U.S. 501. The ordinance does not impact any existing business.

Walt Wysk, chief code inspector with the city, said someone had expressed interest in putting a strip club in a building at the corner of Executive Avenue and Grissom Parkway, but the location did not meet parking requirements. Under the new ordinance, it would no longer be possible to put an adult business in that location.

“There are still commercially available spots that still would permit [adult businesses],” Ellenburg said.

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