Solicitor's office to crack down on nuisance businesses - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Solicitor's office to crack down on nuisance businesses

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County's newest solicitor says he's making it a priority to clean up businesses causing problems for their neighbors.

Horry County Assistant Solicitor Jimmy Richardson is set to take over the job of Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor on Tuesday; the job was recently vacated when Solicitor Greg Hembree was elected to the South Carolina State Senate.

Following the shutdown of property deemed a public nuisance, Crush Nightclub on Highway 17 Bypass in Horry County near Palmetto Point Boulevard, Richardson says he hopes to aid in shutting down other businesses that act in a similar manner.

"What we don't want is for the surrounding areas, the neighbors - to be subject to this constant gunfire, or police reports," Richardson says.

The ability to shut down a business based on a high volume of illegal activity is what led to the shutdowns of several other well known businesses in Horry County this year, including "Tequila Empire" in Myrtle Beach, and "Might as Well" near the Coastal Carolina University Campus.

Richardson says those businesses and ones like them were a magnet for illegal activity, and the communities surrounding Myrtle Beach often attract them.

"[Due to] the transient nature around Myrtle Beach, there's a lot of businesses that cater to a more loud crowd, maybe those that are more bent on doing illegal activities around the beach," Richardson says.

Richardson says there are limitations to the law making it difficult to target the owners or employees themselves of businesses pegged as nuisances.

"It's very hard to go in with a criminal prosecution and lock up those that are responsible at the businesses because they are shielded in some sort of corporation," Richardson says.

It's why Richardson says his office plans to use nuisance and forfeiture laws on the books now to target not just businesses, but homes that are the base for illegal activity.

"If you're using a house a car, a house, or business to sell drugs out of - we can certainly bring forth a civil action almost akin to the nuisance action to take over that establishment," Richardson says.

Richardson says his office is counting on anyone who thinks they live near a nuisance property to call police when a crime does occur at the location. He says the police reports from those calls give the Solicitor's office the evidence needed to shut the business down.

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