Bucks Racks and Ribs files federal lawsuit against county over sign dispute

Rendering of the proposed sign (Source: Lawsuit)

The companies that own Bucks Racks and Ribs and the property on which the restaurant operates have filed a federal lawsuit against Greenville County.

According to the lawsuit, the owners claim the county denied the business’s application for a sign.

The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 13 by attorneys representing Greenville Bistro, LLC, the business owner, and Frontage Road Associates, the property owner.

The lawsuit claims that Greenville County denied Bucks’ sign application in October, 2017. It states the the County’s Codes Enforcement Director denied the sign permit application in part because the activity on the property was not in compliance with the property’s zoning usage.

The lawsuit also claims that the county’s refusal to grant the sign permit was “an attempt to indirectly harm Greenville Bistro’s success as a going concern by silencing permitted advertising.”

"The goal of the county is to try to stop this business any way," said attorney Luke Lirot, who is representing the business.

In a statement released by Teresa Barber with the Greenville County Planning and Code Compliance Division, she stated “Codes staff observed performers dancing on a stage at this location,” and that the “website for this business promotes ‘$10 dances every day until 10 p.m.’” She said such activities are “not authorized in an establishment with a certificate of occupance for a restaurant.”

Lirot said Bucks Racks & Ribs is "not a nude club by any stretch."

"They wanted to come up with definitions of what you can and cannot do and basically draw a line," Lirot said. "If you don’t cross it, you’re not an adult entertainment business. It’s entertainment with people who are wearing clothing and not exposing those pesky anatomical areas that are defined in the ordinance. That was deemed to be sufficient to address the county’s concerns for 15 years.”

A Greenville County spokesman on Tuesday declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Buck’s Racks and Ribs operates in the building that formerly housed Platinum Plus, a strip club that was shut down in 2016 after being found in contempt of court.

Greenville Bistro, LLC filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against Greenville County back in June 2017 claiming the county and the sheriff’s office were violating the business’ First Amendment rights and holding it to a court order from 2002 regarding the former business.

The sheriff’s office cited the business on multiple occasions for “unlawful amounts of flesh” being displayed in the eatery.

PREVIOUSLY - No decision after Bucks Racks and Ribs hearing

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