Horry County's enforcement of adult laws can continue

Horry County officials say it's too early to declare victory, after a judge ruled against a local strip club owner.

The Gold Club was turned down in its attempt to stop the county from enforcing two new adult entertainment laws.

Last year, the club's owner asked a federal court for a temporary injunction against the county.

Owner Mike Rose claimed the county's new adult entertainment laws violate the club's first amendment right to free speech.

The two laws covering adult businesses went into effect in December.

"One (law) regarding zoning, where they can be located within the county, how close can they be distance-wise between schools, churches, neighborhoods, and the other one is a conduct ordinance," said Horry County public information officer Lisa Bourcier.

In Friday's ruling, Judge Mary G. Lewis said the county has "concerns about protecting the health, safety and welfare of its citizens". For those reasons, the county can pass restrictions on adult entertainment businesses.

Lewis turned down the request for an injunction.

Since the laws went into effect in December, the Gold Club has not been operating as a strip club. Rose says the club offers adult dance performances allowed under the new law.

Rose says he's disappointed at the judge's ruling, but his lawsuit against the county that was filed before the new laws went into effect can continue.

In the meantime, the county will continue enforcing its new laws.

"We're not doing anything different than we have been, as far as enforcement, since we adopted the new regulations and we will continue that until the final hearing," Bourcier said.

She says it's unknown when that final hearing will take place.

Rose says he'll assess his legal options in a few days.

The City of Myrtle Beach is also in the process of reviewing its adult business ordinance.