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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Sara F. Todd, S.F.T. Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Caretta Caretta vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Sara F. Todd, S.F.T. Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Caretta Caretta

South Carolina Department of Revenue

For the Petitioner: Jeff S. Holcombe, Esquire

For the Respondent: No Appearance




This matter comes before the Administrative Law Judge Division pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. 61-1-55, et seq. (Supp. 1995) and S. C. Code Ann. 1-23-310 et seq. (1986 and Supp. 1995) for a contested case hearing. The Petitioner, Sara F. Todd, seeks an on-premise beer and wine permit for Caretta Caretta. The Respondent made a Motion to be Excused which was granted by my Order dated September 4, 1996. A hearing was held on Wednesday, October 16, 1996, at the Administrative Law Judge Division. No one appeared on behalf of the Protestant.

The Permit requested by the Petitioner is approved.


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 or Protestants, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of evidence:

1. The Petitioner seeks an on-premise beer and wine permit for Caretta Caretta at 2805 Hwy North 17, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
2. Notice of the time, date, place and subject matter of the hearing was given to the Petitioner, Protestants, and South Carolina Department of Revenue and Taxation.
3. The qualifications set forth in S. C. Code Ann. 61-9-320 (Supp. 1995) concerning the residency and age of the Petitioner are properly established. Furthermore, the Petitioner has not had a permit or license revoked within the last two years and notice of the application was lawfully posted both at the location and in a newspaper of general circulation.
4. The Petitioner is of sufficient moral character to receive a beer and wine permit.
5. The proposed location is not unreasonably close to any church, school or playground.
6. The proposed location is suitable for the sale of beer and wine on-premise.


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

1. S.C. Code Ann.  1-23-600 (Supp. 1995) grants jurisdiction to the Administrative Law Judge Division to hear contested cases under the Administrative Procedures Act.
2. S.C. Code Ann.  61-1-55 (Supp. 1995) grants to the Administrative Law Judge Division the powers, duties and responsibilities as hearing officer in protested and contested matters governing alcoholic beverages, beer and wine.
3. S.C. Code Ann.  61-9-320 (Supp. 1995) sets forth the requirements for the issuance of an on-premise beer and wine permit.
4. 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).
5. As the trier of fact, the Administrative Law Judge is authorized to determine the fitness or suitability of the proposed business location of a Petitioner for a permit to sell beer and wine using broad, but not unbridled, discretion. Byers v. South Carolina ABC Commission, 281 S.C. 566, 316 S.E.2d 705 (Ct. App. 1984).
6. 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).
7. 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 permit 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).
8. The Petitioner meets the statutory requirements for holding a beer and wine permit at the proposed location.


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

ORDERED that the on-premise beer and wine permit application of Sara F. Todd for Caretta Caretta at 2805 Hwy North 17, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina be granted upon the payment to the Department of the required fee and cost by the Petitioner.


______________________________________ Judge Ralph King Anderson, III
Administrative Law Judge

October 17, 1996
Columbia, South

Brown Bldg.






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