CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Carolina Forest residents are fired up after recent speculations that adult businesses in Horry County could be relocating to their family neighborhoods.
To dispel these rumors, Horry County officials met with residents at the Carolina Forest Recreation Center Wednesday night at 6 p.m. to explain the ordinance concerning adult businesses that is currently being considered, and pinpoint which areas of unincorporated Horry County businesses could relocate to if the stricter zoning laws are passed.
During the meeting, County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus dispelled rumors that adult entertainment businesses could set up shop on actual Carolina Forest property.
"Nowhere inside of Carolina Forest. All the properties within Carolina Forest were either International Paper Properties or Burroughs and Chapin properties and surrounding areas. Lazarus said.They're all deed restricted. They have deed restrictions that are filed in the court that say no adult entertainment would be allowed on this piece of property. So even if the development agreement goes away and this zoning ordinance doesn't happen, none can open inside Carolina Forest."
One area being proposed is near Carolina Forest on Highway 501. There are some sections of property not directly in Carolina Forest that are not deed restricted and meet the distance requirements in the proposed law, meaning an adult store could technically move into one of those areas. The new law, among many changes, says all adult entertainment businesses must be at least 1500 feet from all churches, daycare's, schools and residences.
Bo Ives with the Carolina Forest Civic Association said the people of Carolina Forest are worried about what would come with the businesses (crime, drugs etc.) if they are allowed in the Carolina Forest area. The people do support all of the zoning restrictions that have been discussed so far. They are pleased with how open the County Council has been regarding this issue. Just want to be made aware of everything before a decision is made.
Adult businesses not pleased with proposed ordinance
The debate over adult entertainment in Horry County is getting more and more heated as adult businesses speak out against proposed bills in front of Horry County Council.
"They have no teeth," said Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier, speaking about the current laws on adult entertainment in the county.
Two proposed ordinances have been up for debate in council chambers, one giving stricter definitions for adult businesses and where they can be located, the other imposing stricter penalties for what happens in these clubs and businesses.
"Some of these businesses have come in and misrepresented themselves as a different type of business," Bourcier said, "whether it's a drinking establishment, a restaurant, or a bar."
The bills went before Horry County Council on Tuesday, August 13, and both passed their second reading, Bourcier said.
But a number of adult businesses have begun expressing opposition to the bills, even calling them unconstitutional. Leading the way is Airport Express, and adult video store on Highway 17 Bypass.
In a statement, Airport Express spokesperson Todd Martin said if the ordinances pass, it will "effectively shutter all business."
Martin also said the lawyers helping to draw up the legislation for Horry County will be the ones to benefit the most from passing the ordinances, because a sheer number of lawsuits will be filed to stop the bills from becoming law.
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