Crackdown expected on sexually-oriented businesses in Richland C - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Crackdown expected on sexually-oriented businesses in Richland County

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Richland County staffers are working on an aggressive new set of proposals aimed at cracking down on sexually-oriented businesses. 

This new information comes on the heels of two raids at one of those businesses the Sheriff's Department wants shut down.

"Ultimately, we want businesses to comply with the law," said Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson at a recent community meeting to discuss problems generated by the strip club called Crush Nightlife on River Drive.

Many at that meeting were fed up with a growing number of crime-related incidents at the club, and they wanted it shut down.

There are efforts to at least force the current management of Crush to give up the operation.

A spokesman for businessman Jerry Britt, who owns the property, said Crush hasn't paid rent in more than a year. He called the club's manager a "terrible tenant."

Sheriff Leon Lott has already made it clear he wants the club closed as a public nuisance, one that drew more than 140 visits from his deputies over the past year.

"They just thumb their nose at us and the law and say, 'We're going to do what we want to' and dared us to do something," said Lott.

Despite the solicitor's comment, it's also clear Crush and other sexually-oriented businesses in Richland County are violating county law in more than one way, and they've been doing it for years.

Many of these businesses are located within a thousand feet of churches, schools, or homes. The strip club known as Platinum Plus is within a few yards of a church cemetery. Heartbreakers on Bush River Road is close to a residential area. And most of the clubs don't have business licenses.

So why can't the county force these businesses to shut their doors?

"The answer is we should," said Richland County Councilman Seth Rose. "We should. And that's what I've been advocating as you know with my vote on these two clubs. I've been advocating that if you're in violation of the county's sexually-oriented business license ordinance that you should not be able to operate."

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