Former Horry County adult video store fails second inspection to re-open

A second inspection of Airport XXXpress Video off U.S. 17 Bypass has deemed the plans too similar to an adult entertainment establishment, which is preventing it from re-opening.

Airport XXXpress, 4947 U.S. 17 Bypass South, was deemed a public nuisance and closed in October, but Judge Cynthia Graham Howe ruled this spring the business could re-open if it abides by certain changes: Change its name, obtain a new business license, and once the place is remodeled, it must pass a county inspection. That’s where the business hit a snag.

“After the second inspection, the zoning administrator has determined that it is an adult entertainment establishment that does not meet spacing requirements,” said Lisa Bourcier, spokeswoman for Horry County. “Therefore, the request for a certificate of zoning compliance has been denied.”

Kelvin Lewis, owner of Airport XXXpress, denied to comment Wednesday on what his next steps would be.

Howe’s April order denied Lewis’ proposed change of design because the plans did not say the preview rooms would be removed, but rather converted to storage.

“This court believes the respondent’s written proposal is a temporary fix to the nuisance and not a true abatement,” Howe wrote. “The court believes law enforcement would be continuously burdened with monitoring the property to make sure the door to the preview rooms remained locked and inaccessible during the pendency of this lawsuit.”

Howe’s order is in effect until Oct. 7.

Airport XXXpress was deemed a public nuisance in October after Solicitor Jimmy Richardson’s office said that investigators reported lewd behavior at the adult bookstore off the bypass just south of the backgate intersection. The order said the business had to stay closed until October, but owners of the video store made strides to re-open abiding by the county’s newer adult business ordinance.

The county was on a quest in 2014 to clean up businesses, whether adult-themed or not, that were deemed nuisances due to the number of police calls at the properties. Adult-themed clubs such as Club Mansion, formerly known as Teezers; Bottoms Up; Tiffany’s Cabaret; Fantails and The Bunny Ranch were closed. In February, Levelz Bar & Grill, at 515 Ninth Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, was closed after being deemed a nuisance.

In 2013, 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 approved 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.

Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or on Twitter @TSN_JRodriguez.