“Nuisance” businesses targeted in West Columbia ordinance
What some may call the “nuisance ordinance,” is set in place to address businesses that may be affecting the “health, safety, and well-being of the citizens of West Columbia.”
West Columbia Councilman Tem Miles said the ordinance will give the council the ability to address the recurring issues with problematic businesses in the city.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble over in the McSwain Drive area with a couple hotels over there,” he said. “We’ve tried and tried to address those issues, and we haven’t been able to get any success on bringing about improvement over there.”
Miles said there have been thousands of police calls responding to that area. Now that the ordinance has been passed, he intends on seeing an improvement brought about.
Miles mentioned that rather than setting a numerical amount of complaints that must be reached before being shut down, the ordinance benchmarks a business against a similar type of business.
“If you’re conducting your business in a manner where you’re not causing a criminal component, or calls to the police department, then there’s no issue,” Miles said. “But we have a couple businesses that are just pure outliers.”
Additionally, Miles said there have been people living in neighborhoods around McSwain Drive who have been terrorized by property crime, and calls made about illegal activities being conducted at the “nuisance businesses.”
There has also been a bit of skepticism from residents after hearing about the ordinance, according to Miles.
“A lot of people have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach,” he said. “Some folks are skeptical this may not alleviate the problems.”
He has also seen a more positive approach from others. “Some people expressed the fact that they’re very, very happy the city is finally acting on this,” he said. Despite mixed responses, Miles said he is 100 percent committed to seeing the ordinance enforced and witnessing a positive change being brought about because of it.