April 24, 2019
Report on County's zoning hearing
An estimated 150 to 200 Whitehall residents brought their bright-green "FOR the Change" cards to the April 23 public hearing on proposed zoning changes regarding sexually-oriented businesses. Thanks to everyone who attended!
Council will take a second-reading vote on the proposed changes soon. We encourage everyone to email all County Council members, and express our appreciation and support for their efforts.
Council released draft of proposed zoning changes for sexually-oriented businesses (SOBs), and scheduled public hearing
County Council recommended changes to the "sexually oriented businesses" (SOBs) section of the County zoning ordinance, and scheduled a public hearing on Tuesday evening, April 23. The changes align Lexington County's zoning requirements for sexually oriented businesses with Richland County's - particularly important in this case, since the proposed business property straddles the county lines.
The Whitehall Homeowners Association encouraged many neighbors to attend the public hearing, regardless of whether you want to speak.
We showed our strong support for County Council's efforts to help our community.
We showed our strong opposition to the proposed strip club.
March 13, 2019
Lexington County Council gave first-reading approval to proposed changes to its "sexually oriented business" zoning ordinance.
This allows two weeks to refine the draft proposal before it is put to a second-reading vote at a regular County Council meeting. After that, Council expects to release the proposed changes and to hold a public hearing before the final vote.
Lexington County's website has the following information:
February 23, 2019
"No news is good news"?
Alcoholic Beverage License hearing: The hearing on the ABL (Alcoholic Beverage License) request remains on hold until the SC Supreme Court remands the case to the Administrative Law Court.
Site preparation: A number of neighbors have observed that grading and other site preparation work continue at the property. This means that the property is being prepared for development. It does not mean that the club's alcohol license has been approved.
In the fall of 2018 a lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court in Lexington County that could potentially have blocked the strip club. However, the litigants chose to withdraw, so the suit was dismissed on December 3, 2018. Read the Notification of Dismissal
This means that neighborhood resistance to the ABL request remains the primary hope to keep the strip club from opening.
September 14, 2018
About the hearing date
On Friday, September 7, the SC Court of Appeals issued an order to stay (postpone) the hearing
that had been scheduled for Tuesday, September 11. However, throughout Monday, September 10, the Administrative Law Court repeatedly stated that the hearing was still "on the docket" for Tuesday.
Before the procedural matters and jurisdictional conflicts could be resolved, the governor closed state offices in 26 counties, including Richland, because of an impending hurricane.
The case is still with the SC Court of Appeals. The new hearing date will not be set until the case is remanded to the Administrative Law Court.
Come to the hearing
We need to have a crowd at the hearing on the strip club’s alcohol license request.
Anyone may attend the hearing as an observer. A strong showing will make a statement to the judge.
(Date and Time To Be Announced)
Edgar Brown Building
1205 Pendleton Street, on the southeast corner of the State House grounds
Several public parking garages are available within a few blocks, including one at the corner of Lady Street and Assembly Street, and others on Park Street and on Lady Street in the Vista. Allow time to park and walk, and to go through security at the Brown Building.
Do you want a bus ride to the hearing?
It is possible that Whitehall HOA and Harbison HOA will again collaborate to provide a bus to the re-scheduled hearing. Watch this page for more info. Or you may prefer to carpool with your neighbors.
For possible speakers at the hearing
Valid protestants are the only allowed speakers. But the court has been clear that, with more than 200 possible speakers, we must coordinate our arguments, and select designated presenters.
If you are a “valid protestant” and want to coordinate
with others to be sure your beliefs and objections are presented, click Contact Us to let us know as soon as possible
. Include your name and contact information, and provide a very brief overview of the main points you believe should be presented at the hearing.
Rep. Chip Huggins and attorney Drew Richardson are working to help coordinate the presentations. Mr. Richardson, an attorney with McAngus Goudelock and Courie, had previously been a staff attorney with the SC Department of Revenue for years, and has been involved in hundreds of such hearings.
Accommodating this historic protest
Because of expected audience size - possibly the largest protest the Department of Revenue has ever received - and limited seating in the courtroom, the court plans to offer an observation room with streaming video of the court proceedings.
July 20, 2018
The Administrative Law Court notified valid protestants that the hearing will be September 11, 2018, beginning at 10 a.m.
July 10, 2018
The Department of Revenue mailed a packet of information this week to all those who filed valid* protests.
The license applicant, WKSC, LLC, has appealed the Department of Revenue's denial of his license request, and the matter has been referred to the SC Administrative Law Court, which will set a hearing date. The hearing date has not yet been announced.
According to this week's packet, valid protestants will be notified of the hearing date, and will be given the opportunity to appear at the hearing. At that time, if you say "no," your protest will be discarded. If you say "yes," indicating that you will attend the hearing, you are making a commitment to appear, and are subject to penalties if you fail to appear without notifying the court.
However, well over 200 valid protests were received. The Administrative Law courtroom is small and the hearing time is limited. The court encouraged protestants to coordinate their arguments, and to choose representatives to present the arguments at the hearing.
* The Department of Revenue's validation of a protest is an evaluation of the completeness of a protest filing, not of the merits of its argument. If required information was missing, or if you indicated you would not attend a hearing, your protest was discarded, and you would not have received a hearing notification packet.
The applicant may choose to protest the denial, or may change the business model so as to skirt the need for an alcohol license. Other possibilities are under discussion. The Whitehall HOA will try to keep this page current, as verifiable facts are made available.
A strip club has been proposed near our neighborhoods
We offer here information about the proposed club, and a timeline of efforts to prevent such a business from operating in our area.
Where is the proposed strip club?
The undeveloped property is on Fernandina Road at the I-26 / Piney Grove Road interchange, Exit 104. It is within sight of Costco, Quality Inn, Northern Tools, Green's Discount Liquors and other businesses. The Harbison shopping area is one mile away, at Exit 103.
The property straddles the Richland-Lexington county line, introducing uncertainties about law enforcement jurisdiction, zoning, permits and licenses, etc.
The property owner has indicated that he intends to build the club on the Lexington County portion of the plot. A "zoning and landscape application/site plan review" has been submitted to Lexington County.
Lexington County's zoning department says that the current zoning of the property allows for a sexually oriented business. If the business meets the requirements of the existing zoning, the plans will be approved internally, without a public comment period.
Protests to the alcohol permit request
Alcoholic Beverage Licenses (ABL) are administered by the SC Department of Revenue. An ABL request has many steps to be considered, including a background check of the requestor, examination of the physical premises, etc. The license requestor can withdraw the request, or it can be denied by the Department of Revenue, or a protested request may be referred to the Administrative Law Court for a hearing.
The public may send written protests by a stated deadline - in this case, by March 28, 2018. Each protest must include certain information, such as the name and other information about the license requestor, location of the proposed business, name and contact information of the protestor, the reasons for his/her protest, and an indicator of whether the protestor will attend a hearing, if one is called.
A valid protest is one which meets all of these requirements, without regard for the merits of the argument in the protest. (That determination is reserved for a hearing, if needed, in the Administrative Law Court.) A protest is discarded if any required information is missing, or if the protestor indicates he/she will not attend a hearing.
If a hearing is called, the SC Department of Revenue will contact anyone who sent a legally-valid protest. Protestors are notified of the hearing date and time, and asked if they will attend the hearing, where they have an opportunity to present evidence. As a protestor, if you indicate that you will not attend, your protest is discarded. If you indicate that you will attend the hearing, you are expected to be there, and are subject to fines if you fail to appear.
A “zoning and landscape application/site plan review” was filed with Lexington County.
An Alcoholic Beverage License (ABL) was requested from the SC Department of Revenue, for undeveloped property at 4029 Fernandina Road. The request was made by WKSC, LLC.
Early in March 2018, the public became aware of plans to establish a strip club at 4029 Fernandina Road, near the interchange of I-26 and Piney Grove Road. An immediate groundswell of opposition resulted.
March 28, 2018: Deadline for filing of protests against the ABL.
Related news reports:
May 2018: The SC Department of Revenue has denied the application, based on the more than 200 public protests received, and on proximity to other particular businesses. When/If a hearing is scheduled at the Administrative Law Court, "protestants" (those who submitted legally-valid protests) will be notified of the hearing date and offered the opportunity to attend and speak.
July 19, 2018: Notification of the September 11 hearing date is sent by the Administrative Law Court to valid protestants.
September 7-10, 2018: The September 11 hearing date is postponed by the SC Court of Appeals to allow review of a motion to intervene. Before procedural matters and jurisdictional conflicts are resolved, the Governor closes many state offices, effective September 11, due to an impending hurricane.
March 12, 2019: Lexington County Council proposes changes to the zoning ordinance regarding sexually-oriented business (SOBs). The changes would align Lexington County's zoning with Richland County's, simplifying zoning enforcement for properties on or near a county line.