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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Spearman's Super Saver, Inc. vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Spearman's Super Saver, Inc.

South Carolina Department of Revenue

James H. Harrison, Esquire, for Petitioner

Harry Hancock, Esquire for Respondent

Protestant: R.H. Patterson, Sr.



Spearman’s Super Saver, Inc., (Spearman’s ) filed an application for an off-premises beer and wine permit with the South Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR), for 8811 Augusta Road, Pelzer, South Carolina. A protest was filed pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-525 by R.H. Patterson seeking to prevent DOR from granting the application. The Petitioner requested an expedited hearing. I held a contested case hearing on this matter on March 24, 2006 at the Court in Columbia, South Carolina. Notice of the time, date, location, and nature of the hearing was timely sent, and the parties and protestant were present as noted. Spearman’s asserts it meets the statutory requirements for an off premises beer and wine permit. DOR states it would have granted the permit but for the filing of the protest asserting the inadequacy of law enforcement in the area. The sole issue in dispute is the Protestant’s concern about law enforcement. Based on the evidence and relevant factors before me, I find that the off-premises beer and wine permit should be granted.


Having observed testimony of the witnesses and exhibits presented at the hearing and closely passed upon their credibility, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of the evidence:

1. Notice of the time, date, place and subject matter of the hearing was given to the parties as well as the Protestant in a timely manner.

2. The Petitioner seeks an off-premises beer and wine permit for the business

establishment known as Spearman’s Super Saver, Inc., d/b/a Spearman’s located at 8811 Augusta Road, Pelzer, South Carolina. Spearman’s is a convenience store, grill and restaurant. This location has been licensed previously.

3. The area of this location is primarily commercial with several commercial locations on the same side of the four lane highway. The proposed location is currently open Monday through Friday from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM, Saturday 7:00AM to 8:00 PM and Sunday 8:00AM to 8:00 PM. Ms. Spearman testified that she may extend those hours, but would not be open later than 9:30 PM. This location has parking for 10 cars and adequate exterior lighting.

4. Notice of the application was lawfully posted for fifteen days at the location, and

notice of the application also ran a newspaper of general circulation in the area. R. H. Patterson timely filed his protest on December 29, 2005 asserting his concern about the effect of the sale of alcoholic beverages on local law enforcement and the number of licensed location in the area.

5. The Department has indicated that the Petitioner met all statutory requirements relative to the application for an off-premises beer and wine permit, pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520 (Supp. 2005) and 23 S.C. Ann. Regs. 7-200 (2005), and that it would have issued the permit but for the protest.


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

1. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600 (Supp. 2005) grants jurisdiction to the South Carolina Administrative Law Court to hear contested cases under the Administrative Procedures Act.

2. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 2005) grants to the South Carolina Administrative Law Court the powers, duties and responsibilities to hear contested matters governing alcoholic beverages, beer and wine.

3. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520 (Supp. 2005) sets forth the requirements for issuance of beer and wine permits.

4. The determination of suitability of a location is not necessarily a function solely of geography. It involves an infinite variety of considerations related to the nature and operation of a 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).

5. Any evidence adverse to a location may by considered. In evaluating the issuance of a beer and wine permit, the proximity of the location to a church, school or residence is a proper ground by itself on which the location may be found to be unsuitable and the permit denied. Byers v. South Carolina ABC Comm’n, 305 S.C. 243, 407 S.E.2d 653 (1991). Further, the judge can consider whether there have been any law enforcement problems in the general area. Palmer v. S.C. ABC Comm’n, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984). Also, the judge can consider the proximity or the absence of other licensed locations in the immediate vicinity and the existence of students and small children in the area.

6. Unless there is sufficient evidence of an adverse impact on the community, the application must be granted if the statutory criteria are satisfied. The fact that a Protestant objects to the issuance of a permit is not 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).

7. 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, 189 S.E.2d 301, (1972); Taylor v. Lewis, 261 S.C. 168, 198 S.E.2d 801 (1973). In this case, the Protestant stated that the application fees charged by the DOR are insufficient to pay for the necessary SLED and DOR investigations of the location and the principals. In addition, he does not believe that there is an adequate law enforcement presence in the area to protect the citizens from the problems he feels are caused by alcohol, including violent crime and drunken driving.

8. Standards for judging the suitability of a proposed location for the sale of beer, wine or liquor are not determined by a local community’s religious convictions. Criteria must be uniform, objective, constant and consistent throughout the State. The sale of beer, wine or liquor is a lawful enterprise in South Carolina, regulated by the State. See S.C. Code Ann. §61-4-10 et seq. (Supp. 2005) and 23 S.C. Ann. Regs. 7-200 et seq. (2005).

9. The Department of Revenue, which is the governmental body charged with regulating and enforcing violations concerning permits and licenses involving the sale of beer and wine, did not object to the granting of a permit in this case. Neither did the local law enforcement agencies. I find that this location is suitable for the off‑premises sale of beer and wine.

10. Although the concerns of the Protestant are understandable, and the witness exhibited great credibility in his testimony and his research on the number of outlets in the area, the spending by SLED and the DOR and the number of law enforcement calls, not all of the statistics cited relate to this particular location as required.

11. I conclude that the Petitioner’s burden of proof has been met by virtue of meeting

all of the statutory requirements for granting the off-premises beer and wine permit at the proposed location. I further conclude that the proposed location is proper for the permit.


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

ORDERED that the South Carolina Department of Revenue shall grant the off-premises beer and wine permit for Spearman’s Super Saver, Inc. located at 8811 Augusta Road, Pelzer, South Carolina.




Administrative Law Judge

March 28, 2006

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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