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

Henry L. Knox d/b/a Henry's Bar & Lounge vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Henry L. Knox d/b/a Henry's Bar & Lounge

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Robert J. Moran, Esquire for Petitioner



This matter comes before me on the application of Henry L. Knox for an on-premise beer and wine permit for his bar located at 4396 U.S. Highway 17 Business in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. After notice to the parties, a hearing was conducted on February 27, 1995.


1. The applicant is a 53 year old resident of South Carolina and is a legal resident of the United States.

2. Knox was convicted of writing bad checks in magistrate's court in 1980. He was fined and made restitution on the checks. He had no other criminal record.

3. Knox previously held a beer and wine permit for Midtown Tavern located in Pawleys Island. The tavern closed after the landlord raised the rent on the property. During the time Knox held the permit he had one violation. His permit was never suspended or revoked. The police never had to respond to any problems at this tavern.

4. The proposed location is on Highway 17 in Murrells Inlet. This is a commercial area with residences located behind the businesses along the highway.

5. Henry's Bar and Lounge can accommodate forty to fifty persons inside the location. It would also sell food, has a gas station, and sells tackle and bait. The hours of operation would be 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 4:00 p.m. to 12 midnight on Saturday.

6. The proposed location was previously a bar and licensed for ten to twelve years.

7. There is a church about one mile from the location. There are no schools or playgrounds nearby.

8. The Murrells Inlet Property Owners Association appeared through its president, Dwain Patrick to protest the application. The association submitted a letter asking for restrictions on the location. These restrictions were: no speakers or any devices to transmit sound or music to the outside; no loitering in the parking areas or alley; erect a privacy fence to screen the business from the residences; and close at midnight.

9. Photographs show residences at the rear of the location and a chain link fence dividing the parking area from the residence. There is no barrier to prevent headlights from shining into the residences.

10. Other licensed premises in Murrells Inlet do not have restrictions on time of closing.

11. Knox agreed to the restrictions relating to the music and the loitering. He also agreed to a privacy fence if he could afford to erect one and if the city approved it. He would not agree to the restriction on the hours of operation.


I make the following findings of fact, taking into consideration the burden on the parties to establish their cases by a preponderance of the evidence and taking into account the credibility of the witnesses:

1. The Administrative Law Judge is vested with the powers, duties and responsibilities exercised by the former Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission and hearing officers pursuant to Chapter 23 of Title 1. S.C. Code of Laws § 61-1-55 (Supp. 1993).

2. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-9-320 (Supp.1993) provides the statutory requirement for the issuance of beer and wine permits. It provides in part that the applicant must be of good moral character.

3. There is no single criterion or standard for determining the meaning of the term "good moral character" and the licensing authority must judge whether the acts and conduct shown are sufficient in themselves or as an index to character to disqualify an applicant. 2709 Op. Att'y Gen. 160 (1969); 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors § 135(b) at 243. The Division would not be justified in refusing a license based simply upon a "moral appraisal", or because the previous misconduct is not relevant to the conduct of the business for which the license is sought. Knox's conviction for bad checks occurred in 1980. Since that time the Department or its predecessor in licensing determined Knox to be of good moral character and issued him a beer and wine permit which was returned to the Department in 1994 when the location closed. There has been no change since the license was issued that would prohibit a finding that Knox is of good moral character.

4. The determination of suitability of the proposed location is not necessarily a function solely of geography. It may involve an infinite variety of considerations related to the nature and operation of the proposed business and its impact on the community within which it is to be located. Kearney v. Allen, 287 S.C. 324, 338 S.E.2d 335 (1985).

5. A beer and wine permit issued by the State is a privilege granted in the exercise of the police power of the State. It may be used and enjoyed only so long as the restrictions and conditions governing it are fulfilled. This Division is authorized to place restrictions and conditions on the permit or license. See Feldman v. South Carolina Tax Commission, 203 S.C. 49, 26 S.E.2d 22 (1943).

6. The applicant meets the statutory requirement for the issuance of an on-premise beer and wine permit. The location is a suitable one. This location has been licensed previously for the sale of alcoholic beverages for a number of years. There have been no problems with law enforcement at this location in the past. There are other locations in the area that sell beer and wine and there are restaurants on Highway 17 in Murrells Inlet. None of these locations have restrictions on hours of operation. There is no evidence by the Murrells Inlet Property Owners Association demonstrating a need for such restrictions. The other restrictions are reasonable and are without objection by Knox.


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

ORDERED, that the on-premise beer and wine permit application of Henry L. Knox be granted, with the following restrictions and conditions:

Henry L. Knox shall not permit: (1) any speakers or devices to transmit sound or music to the outside; (2) loitering in the parking areas or alley. Further Knox shall erect a barrier to screen the business from the residences. If the barrier is prohibited by the local government or is not feasible financially then Knox must provide the Department of Revenue and Taxation with documentation to that effect.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that a violation of either items one (1) or two (2) above is considered a violation against the permit and may result in a fine, suspension, or revocation of the permit.




Administrative Law Judge

March _____, 1995

Columbia, South Carolina.

Brown Bldg.






Copyright © 2022 South Carolina Administrative Law Court