South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Harvey Branham, Jr. d/b/a Wateree Lake Convenience Store vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Harvey Branham, Jr. d/b/a Wateree Lake Convenience Store

South Carolina Department of Revenue




This matter came before the Administrative Law Judge Division on the application of Harvey Branham, Jr. for an on-premises beer and wine permit for his campground store located on Dolan Road in Liberty Hill, South Carolina. The parties stipulated that the applicant is qualified for the license and that the location of the store is a suitable. The sole question presented at the hearing on June 8, 1994 is whether the building is required to have rest room facilities inside where the beer and wine are sold.


The facts are undisputed and the parties stipulated that the applicant meets the statutory requirements for the permit to be issued. The location is a 4.55 acre public campground with 38 sites available for rent. The public bathhouse has facilities for men and women each containing showers and adequate toilets. The bath house is located in the middle of the campsite approximately 500 feet from the convenience store where the beer and wine would be sold. It takes approximately three to four minutes to walk from the store to the bath house. The bath houses are checked for cleanliness at least twice a day.

The convenience store sells tackle and bait, oil, and food. The building is twenty feet by twenty-four feet and does not have any space inside to eat or drink. On the outside of the building are several decks leading to the dock and lake. Most patrons eat on these decks. No rest rooms are located inside the store except the one used by the employees for sanitation in connection with the preparation of food. The Department of Health and Environmental Control prohibits the use of this rest room by the general public because it is used by the employees for sanitation purposes. The building meets all of the required statutes and ordinances to operate in Kershaw County.

In the investigation conducted by the Department of Revenue and Taxation, one of the questions for an on-premise beer and wine permit is whether the building "has a functioning rest room available to customers." The applicant argues that the public bathhouse is available to the customers. The Department argues that to prevent public urination and other nuisances the building must be equipped with a functioning rest room for its customers if it is to be licensed for on-premises consumption.


The factual determination of whether or not an application is granted or denied rests in the sound discretion of the body or official to whom the duty is issued; and is usually the sole prerogative of the executive agency charged with rendering that decision. Palmer v. S.C. ABC Commission, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984). In South Carolina, the authority to grant all licenses and permits relating to alcoholic beverages rests with the Administrative Law Judge Division. Section 61-1-55, S.C. Code of Laws (Supp. 1993).

The issue presented in this case is a novel one. There are no statutory requirements that the licensed location be equipped with rest room facilities. Section 61-9-320 states that "location of the proposed place of business of the applicant is in opinion of the department a proper one." The Department requires that any location applying for an on-premise license for the sale or consumption of any type of beverage containing alcohol must have a functioning rest room available to the public. With the exception of public festivals, fairs and other events of a temporary nature, it is reasonable to expect that rest rooms would be located inside the building where the sale or consumption will take place.

The lack of adequate facilities may not create a problem in rural areas but within more urban areas the lack of facilities inside the building could lead to actions creating a public nuisance such as public urination. The lack of facilities, whether in the city or the country, may also lead to health and environment issues. The Department's requirement is therefore a reasonable one.

The location of facilities 500 feet and approximately a three to four minute walk from the store is not adequate for the issuance of an on-premise beer and wine license. The applicant may wish to investigate the possibility of installing a separate wash lavatory (sink) for use by the employees to satisfy DHEC requirements thus allowing the rest rooms inside the building for public use. If no feasible alternative is available then, the license can not be issued.


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

ORDERED that the Wateree Lake Convenience Store must have adequate functional rest room facilities available for public use inside the building before an on-premise beer and wine license may be issued. Until suitable facilities are available as provided in this Order, the application of Harvey Branham, Jr. is DENIED.



Administrative Law Judge

June __, 1994

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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