Club owner offers to drop lawsuit against county in return for changes to proposed laws

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Two proposed laws that have proved to be controversial inthe county are up for their final vote next Tuesday . If the two ordinances pass-one regarding adult business zoning regulations, the second regarding adultbusiness conduct regulations, businesses that currently operate withpartially nude entertainers will have to either move locations or make theentertainers wear more clothing.

"Even if we were wanting to have an adult permit and moveinto an adult location we feel that the new ordinance is too restraining and webelieve it's unconstitutional," The Gold Club Owner Mike Rose said.

Rose is suing the county because it denied him a permit toopen a restaurant nightclub with female entertainers along restaurant row.

County council said it can't fight the lawsuit against Rose with the current laws that are in place. The county does have current regulations pertaining to adultbusinesses but those laws have a history of not holding up when challenged infederal court. The federal court has ruled the current regulations aren't constitutional.

The new laws would restrict things like where an adultentertainment business could operate, what the entertainers could wear  and the hours the establishment could operate.The news laws state all adult entertainment businesses must not sit within 1500feet of a school, church, residence, daycare or park. Add to that, one adultentertainment business can not be within 750 feet of another business of thesame type.

Rose said he will not move his business, instead he'llcomply with the new laws and his entertainers will wear more clothing.

"We don't have to move if it passes a third reading.  A lot of people think that we'll have to moveto a new location. We don't have to. If we come into compliance with the newordinance which is to put more cover up on the entertainers then we will beperfectly fine in the locations that we're at," Rose said.

Rose said he has offered to withdraw the lawsuit against thecounty, if the county will sit down and discuss the ordinances and come to aconclusion that would make everyone happy.

"Save all thetaxpayers any money in legal fees as well as any damages that may have to bepaid if we prevail in federal court if the county would sit down with us andcreate an ordinance that's good for us and good for the county and good for thecitizens but so far they've been unwilling to do that," Rose said.

Councilman Loftus said Rose's compromise didn't work for thecounty.

There are various parcels in the unincorporated areas ofHorry County that are zoned appropriate to where, in the new laws, an adultbusiness can operate- Highway Commercial, Limited Industrial and HighwayIndustrial. Of those parcels, although zoned to allow adult entertainment businesses-  many of them have additional restrictions that wouldn't allow this type of business.

"The only problem with that use is it's either deedrestricted for adult use or the owner of the property restricts the ability tohave adult entertainment so while the county might say hey we're opening up thearea for these types of locations to go and get an adult permit, there's a lotof restrictions and really there's not a lot of space and that of itself isunconstitutional," Rose said.

Loftus said the county ensures there are spots available foradult businesses to move into that are not restricted. The exact number ofparcels available to potential adult entertainment business owners has not been made available.

Rose said his lawsuit with the county will cost him anywherefrom $200,00-$300,000.

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