South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
Edgar A. Brown building 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 224 Columbia, SC 29201 Voice: (803) 734-0550

SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Mary L. Waltman d/b/a B&M Bait and Tackle vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Mary L. Waltman d/b/a B&M Bait and Tackle
437 Cemetery Road, Ware Shoals, SC

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Reverend Calvin R. Branch

Petitioner & Representative:
Mary L. Waltman d/b/a B&M Bait and Tackle, 437 Cemetery Road, Ware Shoals, SC, Pro se

Respondent & Representative:
South Carolina Department of Revenue, Nicholas P. Sipe, Esquire

Intervenor & Representative:
Reverend Calvin R. Branch, Pro se



I. Statement of the Case

Mary L. Waltman (Waltman) filed with the South Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR), an application for an off-premises beer and wine permit for 437 Cemetery Road, Ware Shoals, SC. Protests were filed by Reverend Branch of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Fellowship Church and numerous individuals from the community.

In this matter, not all of the requirements for obtaining a beer and wine permit are disputed. Rather, the granting or denying of the permit turns upon the disputed matter of whether Waltman meets the requirements of having a proper location.

Protests were filed pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-525 resulting in a contested case before the Administrative Law Court (ALC) under S.C. Code Ann. §§ 61-2-260 (Supp. 2004), 1-23-600(B) (Supp. 2004) and 1-23-310 (Supp. 2004). Here, the evidence and relevant factors require denying the off-premises beer and wine permit.

II. Issue

Does Waltman meet the requirements for an off-premises beer and wine permit in light of an allegation that the location is improper?

III. Analysis

A. Findings of Fact

Based on the preponderance of the evidence, the following findings of fact are entered:

On or about September 22, 2004, Waltman filed an application with the Department of Revenue for an off-premises beer and wine permit. The application is identified by DOR as AI # 32035097-2. The applicant and the location were investigated by SLED and the investigating agent drew a map generally depicting the immediate area of the proposed location. Following the notices posted by SLED, the protestants challenged the application and presented this controversy. The hearing for this dispute was held March 15, 2005, with notice of the date, time, place and subject matter of the hearing given to the applicant, DOR, and the protestants.

The proposed business (and the place where the beer and wine permit will be utilized) is located at 437 Cemetery Road, Ware Shoals, South Carolina. The business is a bait and tackle shop and general convenience store with business hours of 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The Full Gospel Tabernacle Fellowship Church is 382 feet from the proposed location with the location being visible from the church. In addition, Ware Shoals Christian Academy is 268 feet from the proposed location with the location also visible from the school. The school is primarily for the elementary grades and is accredited by the South Carolina Independent School Association. Both the church and the school are on Cemetery Road on the opposite side of the highway from the proposed location.

The proposed location is in an area primarily classified as rural in nature and has no commercial establishments in the immediate area. In addition, the immediate area does not have any beer or wine permits. Rather, locations at further points in Ware Shoals contain locations with beer and wine permits. Such locations include a Piggly Wiggly, Hickory Point Store, The Nest, and Citgo.

C. Conclusions of Law

Based on the foregoing Findings of Fact, I conclude the following as a matter of law:

No beer and wine permit may be granted unless the location of the place of business is a proper location. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520 (Supp. 2004). In general, consideration may be given to any factors that demonstrate 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); Kearney v. Allen, 287 S.C. 324, 338 S.E.2d 335 (1985). In this case, after considering all relevant considerations, two factors require denying the permit: improper proximity to a church and improper proximity to a school.

Of paramount importance in examining community impact is giving particular attention to the proximity of the location to churches and schools. Moore v. S.C. ABC Comm'n, 308 S.C. 160, 417 S.E.2d 555 (1992). Indeed, the single factor of an improper proximity to a church or to a school presents a ground for denying a beer and wine permit. William Byers v. S.C. ABC Comm'n, 305 S.C. 243, 407 S.E.2d 653 (1991).

As the term suggests, a significant consideration in deciding when the "proximity" is improper is determining the distance from the proposed location to the church or school in the area. See Moore v. S.C. ABC Comm'n, 308 S.C. 160, 417 S.E.2d 555 (1992) (court upheld a denial of a beer and wine permit since "[t]he store was located approximately .3 mile from a church."). In deciding whether the proximity is improper, the purpose and intention sought to be accomplished by the statute is instructive. Dorchester County Dept. of Social Services v. Miller, 324 S.C. 445, 477 S.E.2d 476 (Ct.App. 1996) (cardinal rule of statutory construction is to ascertain and effectuate the intention of the legislature).

While the General Assembly in S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520 (Supp. 2004) did not explicitly state the purpose to be served by imposing a "proximity" requirement in reference to churches and schools and other institutions and activities, courts in other states with similar laws have explained that such a statute seeks to protect the identified institutions and activities. City of Bastrop v. Johnny's Pizza House, Inc., 712 So.2d 156, (La.App. 2 Cir. 1998) (such statutes seek to ensure that "persons in or entering those protected places will neither have ready access to businesses selling alcohol nor be subjected to viewing or participating in incidents which frequently occur in and around premises where intoxicating beverages are sold."); Taylor Drug Stores, Inc. v. Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Comm'n, 497 N.E.2d 932 (Ind.App. 1 Dist. 1986) (such statutes are designed to create "a protective zone from disruption associated with a 'premises' seeking a permit to dispense alcoholic beverages."); Big Bear Markets of Mich., Inc. v. Michigan Liquor Control Commission, 345 Mich. 569, 77 N.W.2d 135 (Mich. 1956) (purpose of the statute is "to protect churches and schools of the State from detriment resulting from proximity to places of business in which intoxicating beverages are sold."). Obviously, determining when the degree of protection has been breached so as to warrant denying the permit is a matter that must be decided on the individual facts of each case.

Here, the facts of the instant case establish that the proximity is simply inappropriate for a beer and wine permit. The setting for this location is rural with little or no commercial development in the immediate area. Thus, the area is not one in which a beer and wine permit will be subsumed within the existing commercial establishments. On the contrary, the presence of the permit will be the first in the area. Further, the location is not one that is "invisible" to the church or school. Rather, the beer and wine permit will be directly across the street from the church and from the elementary school. Indeed, the distances are only 382 feet to the church and 268 feet to the Ware Shoals Christian Academy. Accordingly, considering all of the factors of location related to the protected institutions of a church and a school, the permit must be denied.

IV. Order

Based upon the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is hereby ordered:

DOR shall deny Mary L. Waltman's application for an off-premises beer and wine permit at 437 Cemetery Road, Ware Shoals, South Carolina.




Administrative Law Judge

Dated: April 28, 2005

Greenville, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






Copyright © 2022 South Carolina Administrative Law Court