Dorchester County, S.C. (WCIV) — Gone are the days of adult book shops, strictly speaking.
Adult-only shops now carry a lot more than books. It's why Dorchester County Council is considering updating an outdated ordinance to reflect the times.
A proposed ordinance will clearly include an "adult novelty store" into its definition of an "adult book shop," broadening the definition to include stores that carry novelty items and devices.
Council is set to vote on first reading and referring the issue to the planning commission and the planning, development and building committee for public hearings and recommendations to council.
The amendment comes just two weeks after business owners found out Badd Kitty, an adult store, is going up in a Summerville shopping plaza next to a church, a ballet studio and a pottery-making shop.
Dorchester Council Chairman Jay Byars said the amendment was sparked by the controversy in that nearby jurisdiction.
"It just alerted us to the fact that we may need to tighten some things up a little bit, we felt like it would be the right thing to do," Byars said. "Just from the standpoint of the precedent so that businesses understood clearly the rules, as well as families understand we know they don’t want to have to explain things to their 6-year-old or their 8-year-old walking right beside that store and asking questions that mom and dad aren’t necessarily prepared to answer yet."
It's getting mixed reactions from those who live in the area.
Clayton Strobel said novelty stores don't bother him.
"They're pretty discreet for the most part," said Strobel. "You never see them, you can pass them and not even notice them," he said.
Katie Cole said she's okay with them, as long as the signage isn't flashy.
"Driving down the road, you don't want your kid to be like 'mom, what's that?' and it's an awkward story in the car," said Cole.
Byars said tightening the ordinance it's an appropriate move for a family-friendly area.
"This just really sets everybody up for success, even the business owner," Byars said. "They don't necessarily want to be out there upsetting clientele or upsetting people, that's not good for them either."
On Monday night, council passed first reading. It will now be sent it to the Planning Commission and the Planning, Development and Building Committee.
That committee will review the amendment and make sure appropriate zoning is in place, and then it will be sent back to council for second reading, likely next month.
After the meeting, council chairman Jay Byars said, “We are trying to address it before it pops up. The first reading’s main objective is to keep those types of stores away from places that are more family-focused.”
Read the ordinance below in full: