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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Laxmi Corporation of Columbia, Inc. vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Laxmi Corporation of Columbia, Inc.
3208B Two Notch Road, Columbia, SC

South Carolina Department of Revenue

David Belding, Esquire, for the Petitioner

Nicholas P. Sipe, Esquire, for the Respondent

Clyde Shepard, Pro Se, for the Protestant Belvedere Community Organization



This matter comes before the Administrative Law Judge Division (Division) pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §§ 61-6-100 et seq. (Supp. 2001), § 61-6-910 (Supp. 2001), and §§ 1-23-310 et seq. (1986 and Supp. 2001) for a contested case hearing. The Petitioner, Laxmi Corporation, seeks a retail liquor license. The Department of Revenue (Department) made a Motion to be Excused stating that it had submitted all relevant information it had in the Agency Transmittal. This motion was not granted. A hearing was held on this matter on September 25, 2002, at the offices of the Division 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 persuasion by the parties and the Protestant, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of evidence:

1. Notice of the time, date, place and subject matter of the hearing was given to the Petitioner, the Respondent, and the Protestant.

2. The Petitioner, Laxmi Corporation, is seeking a retail liquor license. The proposed location is located at 3208B Two Notch Road, Columbia, South Carolina. Udayan Thakker is the president of Laxmi Corporation.

3. The qualifications set forth in S. C. Code Ann. § 61-6-110 (Supp. 2001) concerning the age, residency, and reputation of Mr. Thakker are properly established. Furthermore, Mr. Thakker has not had a license for the sale of alcoholic liquors revoked within the last five years and notice of the application was lawfully posted both at the location and in a newspaper of general circulation.

4. Mr. Thakker has no criminal record and is of sufficient moral character to receive a retail liquor license.

5. There was no evidence that the proposed location is within three hundred feet of any church, school or playground.

6. No other member of the Mr. Thakker's household has been issued a retail liquor store license. Additionally, the Petitioner has not been issued more than three retail liquor licenses, nor does he have an interest, financial or otherwise, in more than three retail liquor stores. Mr. Thakker has one other liquor store located at 3047 Bluff Road, Columbia, South Carolina. Mr. Thakker does have a beer and wine permit at his convenience store adjacent to the proposed location. The proposed location will have a separate address from the convenience store and would have a separate entrance.

7. Mr. Shepard represented the Belvedere community which is near the location. Mr. Shepard contends the entire area needs to be improved. He testified that Mr. Thakker's convenience store is an eyesore. He concedes that Two Notch Road is a commercial thoroughfare and has several other licensed locations within the immediate vicinity. However, he intends to protest other locations and agrees that many of the current businesses would have to leave to raise the quality of the area. Mr. Shepard also raises concerns about the proximity of Gunter's Chapel Baptist Church, Forest Oaks residential center and the Department of Social Services (1). However, he does not appear on behalf of those entities and they did not protest the application.

8. I find the proposed location to be suitable for a retail liquor license.


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. 2001) grants jurisdiction to the Administrative Law Judge Division to hear contested cases under the Administrative Procedures Act. Furthermore, S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 2001) grants the Division the responsibilities to determine contested matters governing alcoholic beverages, beer and wine.

2. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 61-6-110 et seq. (Supp. 2001) sets forth the requirements for

determining eligibility for a retail liquor license.

3. Although "proper location" is not statutorily defined, broad discretion is vested in the trier of fact in determining the fitness or suitability of a particular location. Fast Stops, Inc. v. Ingram, 276 S.C. 593, 281 S.E.2d 118 (1981). As the trier of fact, the Administrative Law Judge is authorized to determine the fitness or suitability of the proposed business location for a license to sell liquor using broad, but not unbridled, discretion. Byers v. South Carolina ABC Commission, 281 S.C. 566, 316 S.E.2d 705 (Ct. App. 1984). 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 operations 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). Additionally, 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 license 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).

5. 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, et al. , 261 S.C. 168, 198 S.E. 2d 801 (1973). There was no testimony or other evidence submitted as to the specific adverse impact that the granting of this particular license would have on the community.

6. The Petitioner meets the statutory requirements for holding a retail liquor license at the proposed location.


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

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the retail liquor license of Petitioner Laxmi Corporation of Columbia, Inc. for the location at 3208B Two Notch Road, Columbia, South Carolina, be granted upon the Petitioner's payment of the required fees and costs.




Administrative Law Judge

October 15, 2002

Columbia, South Carolina

1. The Department's findings during its investigation found Gunter's Chapel Baptist Church to be 608 feet from the proposed location. This would not be within the statutorily-prohibited distance of S.C. Code Ann. §61-6-120 (Supp. 2001)("The department shall not ...issue any license provided for in this article...if the place of business is within three hundred feet of any church...situated within a municipality or within five hundred feet of any church...situated outside of a municipality.")

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