Adult business ordinances pass in Horry County

Members of Horry County Council Tuesday night.

Horry County Council passed two ordinances at its meeting Tuesday night that will put stricter regulations on adult entertainment businesses within the county.

Both ordinances passed 9-2.

Under the proposed ordinances, the businesses must be 1,500 feet away from areas like parks, schools, and churches. The businesses also can't hire people convicted of certain sexual or drug-related crimes in the past five years.

"The lady dancers, they'll have to get a license. They'll have to go through a check, and that way we've got a better handle on what's going on, and if they're not doing what they should do, the police has a law to back them up that they can enforce," Horry County Councilman Paul Price said after the meeting.

Council's final decision came with a lot of debate. Community members and adult business owners spoke to the councilmen about their concerns with the ordinances.

"It was good to see both sides turn out and argue the case, the presenter case, and get the facts out," Price said.

After discussion, Councilman Harold Worley proposed a motion to defer the vote and form another committee to further study the ordinances, but Price said council had to act now.

"They're not going out of business. There's plenty of places they can go and set up as adult entertainment or they can stay where they are and run a restaurant. Nobody is trying to put them out of business. I think it's a stretch to go there. But there's places they can go, and they can operate," Price said.

Others in the community disagree with council's decision and said it should discuss matters further before making a decision.

"The point is not to cause problems. The point is to sit down and solve problems and to do it in a way where the county is not going to get sued," Charles Moshier of Myrtle Beach said.

Now, there's a threat of lawsuits against the county.

After second reading of the ordinances, Airport Express Video released a statement that said if the ordinances passed this third reading, they would go to federal court seeking an injunction.

Some other adult business owners who were at Tuesday night's meeting chose not to comment on what their next step is due to "pending litigation."

Price says the county will begin enforcing the new ordinances as soon as they are signed by council, which could take up to two weeks.