FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – A hearing is set for Wednesday in regards to a federal lawsuit filed by downtown businesses against the city of Myrtle Beach in which the owners claim the Ocean Boulevard Entertainment Overlay District “abuses government power.”
According to federal court records, the hearing is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Florence.
Ani Creation, Inc., Blue Smoke Vape Shop, Pacific Beachwear, Myrtle Beach General Store and others are named as plaintiffs in the suit. The defendants are the city of Myrtle Beach, the Myrtle Beach City Council, the individual council members and Mayor Brenda Bethune.
The overlay district along Ocean Boulevard was established on Aug. 14 after the city council passed second reading of an ordinance enacting it. It prohibits smoke shops, cannabis products and merchandise with references to drugs or sexually oriented material.
The plaintiffs state the ordinance will subject them to “grave and irreparable harm,” including losing their businesses, which, for many, represent the bulk of their family savings, according to the suit.
An exhibit included in the lawsuit are several photos that reportedly show stores that can sell the same products that are banned in the overlay district.
According to court documents, most of those stores are within blocks of where the overlay district ends.