County denies new business license for so-called 'illegal strip club'
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A quick drive down Decker Boulevard can transport you from the West Indies to Africa to the Far East and beyond.
On the international boulevard, a business like the one called Mi Casita, located in the Omega Center, blends right in. From the outside, it looks like a Mexican bar and grill, but neighbors say that's not what it is.
"Someone moved into the neighborhood – into Woodfield neighborhood – and they told me that Mi Casita happened to not be a restaurant, that it was a different type of establishment," Ron Huff, president of the Greater Woodfield Community Association, said.
Huff said Mi Casita is a sexually-oriented business. Sheriff Leon Lott is a bit more direct. He calls it an "illegal strip club."
"These places open up and say we're going to be a sports bar," Lott said, "and they open and put up a pole and people are dancing."
Mi Casita has been the target of Richland County for months now, especially after the county says it discovered illegal stripping there back in December. Lott said the county had actually worked with the club to bring it into compliance, but then, the county zoning administrator conducted another unannounced visit in late March.
"This last inspection that the county did, they found out they were still operating as a strip club," Lott said.
As a result, according to a letter written by the county's Business Service Center on Tuesday, the county has denied Mi Casita's request for a renewed business license.
"This business has zoning violations," Director Pam Davis wrote in the letter. "This denial of the 2018 business license application is effective immediately."
Now, barring a successful appeal, the club could risk racking up fines if it continues to violate county rules. To Lott, it's an important decision.
"For some reason, when you have these types of locations, it attracts crimes," the sheriff said.
That's the reason Huff says he's been fighting against the club, too.
"From what the neighbors have told me, they've heard gunshots, they hear screaming, there's a lot of rowdiness, and they feel it's bringing riffraff into the neighborhood," he said.
Mi Casita can appeal the decision. We reached out to the owner multiple times but didn't hear back.
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