City of Columbia Beefing Up Business Code Enforcement

Columbia, SC (WLTX) — As part of a new directive, City of Columbia leaders are taking a closer look at code enforcement for entertainment venues that serve alcohol. And they say despite some concerns that have been raised, some of those leaders say it is not targeting businesses.

Both Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson and the City Police Chief Skip Holbrook are in agreement when they say code enforcement needs to be strengthened. Monday, the city announced that Lucky 13, a nightclub on Lady Street in Columbia’s Vista, had its license revoked.

City leaders say they gave the owner of Lucky 13 plenty of warning before they shut the business down. But Holbrook said after a recent shooting, that was the last straw.

“We had some shots fired, and to me, that clearly was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Holbrook said.

It was an early morning shooting just before Thanksgiving on Nov. 23 that Holbrook said caused him to file a license revocation at the business.

“We didn’t single out this particular establishment, it was truly data driven,” said Holbrook. “We had a number of incidents that were concerning to me.”

City records show it opened in August of 2013.

Holbrook said that’s a list that includes weapons violations, assaults and larcenies, marijuana usage and issues with overcrowding since opening. The chief says at that point, city code gives the city the right to step in.

“I felt like we’d reached that point,” Holbrook said.

The directive came from Wilson’s desk. After getting complaints from residents and business owners, she said she began looking at ways to accommodate those concerns.

Though “Lucky 13” became the first business to fall to the policy, both Wilson and Holbrook promise a citywide perspective.

“All across the city, we’re hearing from our residents; citizens, business owners, etc. that we’ve got to take back our city,” Wilson said.

“Rest assured, it is across the city. It’s not just specific to the traditional entertainment venue. We’re just not going to have that across the city,” she said.

Efforts to contact the owner of “Lucky 13” by telephone or at addresses listed under his name were unsuccessful.