South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Tiger Stop South, LLC, d/b/a Blue Water Convenience Store vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Tiger Stop South, LLC, d/b/a Blue Water Convenience Store

South Carolina Department of Revenue

For the Petitioner:
Baylen Moore, Esquire

For the Respondent:
Sean Ryan, Esquire

For the Protestant:
Wesley Croft,Pro Se




This matter comes before the Administrative Law Court (ALC or Court) pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §§ 1-23-310 et seq. (Supp. 2007), and S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-90 (Supp. 2007) for a contested case hearing. Petitioner is seeking an off-premises beer and wine permit for Blue Water Convenience Store. After proper notice, a hearing was held on August 14, 2008 at the offices of the ALC in Columbia, South Carolina.


Having observed the witnesses and exhibits presented at the hearing and closely passed upon their credibility, taking into consideration the burden of proof upon the Petitioner and the Respondent, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of the evidence:

1. Petitioner seeks an off-premises beer and wine permit for Blue Water Convenience Store, located at U.S. Hwy. 176, Berkley, South Carolina.

2. Petitioner has been a resident of the State of South Carolina for over 12 months. Petitioner also has not had a permit or license revoked within the last two (2) years and notice of the application was lawfully posted both at the location and in a newspaper of general circulation.

3. Blue Water Convenience Store will be located on a tract of land that is approximately 32 acres. The company which sold the land to Petitioner is developing the tract into a large commercial shopping center with banks, grocery stores, and restaurants. Though the area is now generally rural, it is rapidly developing into a commercial area with 3,000 new residences being built behind the commercial development.

Blue Water will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. In addition to the proposed beer and wine sales, it will sell gas along with hot dogs, cokes, and candy. Blue Water, following the company policy of Tiger Stop South, will take many steps to insure that no underage sales of alcohol occur. These include participating in the “We Card” program, the Exxon mystery shop program, and a third party mystery shop program. Furthermore, there is a policy to card everyone who appears to be under the age of 40 and any employee who is caught selling to an underage individual or who doesn’t properly card during a secret shopper test will be terminated.

4. The issuance of the permit is contested by Wesley Croft. Mr. Croft’s main concern is that alcohol will be sold in close proximity to his church. The convenience store is approximately 650 feet from Gethsemane Baptist Church. Mr. Croft is also concerned with the possibility that students of Cane Bay High School may be involved in accidents emanating from the stores sale of beer or wine.

5. Mr. Croft’s arguments appear to be based on a sincere concern for his community. However, in order to deny this permit, direct evidence of an adverse impact on the community is necessary. Though the evidence offered raises “potential” concerns that this business may change the integrity of the vicinity, the evidence did not establish that the granting an off-premise permit for this location will have an overall adverse impact on the community. The proposed location will be operated as a commercial convenience store at which customers will not be permitted to drink upon the premises. The nature of Petitioner’s business, especially in light of its history of cooperating with local churches, reflects a minimal impact to Gethsemane Baptist Church, if any. Furthermore, the contention that the sale of beer or wine at this location would exacerbate traffic accidents for students of Cane Bay High School, which is approximately 8/10 of a mile away from the proposed location, is blatant speculation. Therefore, I find that Petitioner’s proposed location is suitable for an off-premise beer and wine permit.


Based upon the above Findings of Fact, I conclude the following as a matter of law:

1. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600 (Supp. 2007) grants jurisdiction to the Administrative Law Court to hear contested cases under the Administrative Procedures Act. Furthermore, S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 2007) grants the Court the responsibilities to determine contested matters governing alcoholic beverages, beer and wine.

2. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 61-4-520 and 61-4-540 (Supp. 2006) set forth the requirements for the issuance of a beer and wine permit.

3. Although "proper location" is not statutorily defined, the Administrative Law Court is vested, as the trier of fact, with the authority to determine the fitness or suitability of a particular location. Fast Stops, Inc. v. Ingram, 276 S.C. 593, 281 S.E.2d 118 (1981). The determination of suitability of location is not necessarily a function solely of geography. It involves an infinite variety of considerations related to the nature and operation of the proposed business and its impact upon the community within which it is to be located. Kearney v. Allen, 287 S.C. 324, 338 S.E.2d 335 (1985). In determining the suitability of a location, it is proper for this Court to consider any evidence that demonstrates the adverse effect the proposed location will have on the community. Palmer v. S.C. ABC Comm'n, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984). It is also relevant to consider the previous history of the location. Smith v. Pratt, 258 S.C. 504, 189 S.E.2d 301 (1972); Taylor v. Lewis, et al., 261 S.C. 168, 198 S.E.2d 801 (1973). Furthermore, in considering the suitability of a location, it is relevant to consider whether the testimony in opposition to the granting of a license is based on opinions, generalities and conclusions, or whether the case is supported by facts. Smith v. Pratt, 258 S.C. 504; Taylor v. Lewis, 261 S.C. 168.

“A liquor license or permit may also be properly refused on the ground that the location of the establishment would adversely affect the public interest, that the nature of the neighborhood and of the premises is such that the establishment would be detrimental to the welfare . . . of the inhabitants, or that the manner of conducting the establishment would not be conducive to the general welfare of the community.” 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors § 121 at 501 (1981). Nevertheless, without sufficient evidence of an adverse impact on the community, the application must not be denied if the statutory criteria are satisfied. The fact that a Protestant objects to the issuance of a permit is not a sufficient reason by itself to deny the application. See 45 Am. Jur. 2d Intoxicating Liquors §162 (Supp. 1995); 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors §119 (1981).

4. Petitioner meets the statutory requirements for holding an off-premise beer and wine permit at the proposed location.


Based upon the above Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Department resume processing Petitioner's application for an off-premise beer and wine permit.



Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge

August 19, 2008

Columbia, South Carolina


Brown Bldg.






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