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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Curtis Thompson, d/b/a Barksdale Lunch vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Curtis Thompson, d/b/a Barksdale Lunch

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Louise Holmes

Curtis Thompson
Pro Se

Louise Holmes
Pro Se



This matter comes before this tribunal pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 1997) and S.C. Code Ann. §§ 1-23-310, et seq. (Rev. 1986 & Supp. 1997) for a hearing on Petitioner's renewal application for an on-premises beer and wine permit for the Barksdale Lunch, a night club.

After timely notice to the parties, a hearing was held at the Administrative Law Judge Division on March 13, 1998.


Having carefully considered all testimony, exhibits, and arguments presented at the hearing of this matter, and taking into account the credibility and accuracy of the evidence, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of the evidence:

  1. Petitioner Curtis Thompson seeks renewal of an on-premises beer and wine permit for the Barksdale Lunch, Inc., a night club located at 207 Worley Road, Greenville, South Carolina. Petitioner has held an on-premises beer and wine permit at this location for approximately eighteen years.
  2. The State Law Enforcement Division completed a criminal background investigation of Petitioner which revealed no criminal convictions. Further, the record in this matter does not indicate that Petitioner has engaged in acts or conduct which imply the absence of good moral character.
  3. Petitioner is at least twenty-one years of age, a U.S. citizen, a citizen of the State of South Carolina, and has maintained his principal residence in the State for at least thirty days prior to the date of making application for the permit and license.
  4. Petitioner has not had a beer and wine permit or alcohol beverage license revoked within two years of the date of his application.
  5. The night club is open from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and from 6 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Thursday. It has had a number of incidents and disturbances involving fights and gunfire which spilled over into the surrounding residential neighborhood. See Greenville County Sheriff Incident Listing by Location (attached to application). The operation of the club also causes an inordinate amount of noise, litter and traffic congestion in the neighborhood.


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

  1. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 1997) authorizes the South Carolina Administrative Law Judge Division to hear this case.
  2. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520 (Supp. 1997) establishes the criteria for the issuance of a beer and wine permit. Included among the factors for consideration is suitability of the location.
  3. Although "proper location" is not statutorily defined, broad discretion is vested in the Administrative Law Judge Division, as 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 181 (1981).
  4. As the trier of fact, an administrative law judge is authorized to determine the fitness or suitability of the proposed business location of an applicant for a permit to sell beer and wine using broad, but not unbridled discretion. Byers v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 281 S.C. 566, 316 S.E.2d 705 (Ct. App. 1984).
  1. 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 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); Schudel v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 276 S.C.

138, 276 S.E.2d 308 (1981).

  1. In determining whether a proposed location is suitable, it is proper for this tribunal to consider any evidence that shows adverse circumstances of location. Smith v. Pratt, 258 S.C. 504, 189 S.E.2d 301 (1972); Palmer v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984). See also Moore v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 308 S.C. 160, 417 S.E.2d 555 (1992).
  2. "The proximity of a location to a church, school or residence is a proper ground by itself, on which the [trier of fact] may find the location to be unsuitable and deny a permit for the sale of beer or wine at that location" Byers v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 305 S.C. 243, 407 S.E.2d 653 (1991); Moore v. South Carolina ABC Comm'n, 308 S.C. 160, 417 S.E.2d 555 (1992). However, proximity is not a proper ground for denial of a license when as in the instant case, the place of business was licensed prior to April 21, 1986. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520(7) (Supp. 1997).
  3. "A liquor license or permit may properly be refused on the ground that the location of the establishment would adversely affect the public interest, that the nature of the neighborhood and of the premises is such that the establishment would be detrimental to the welfare . . . of the inhabitants, or that the manner of conducting the establishment would not be conducive to the general welfare of the community." 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors § 121 at 501 (1981).
  4. The proposed location is situated in the midst of a residential community. The Greenville County Sheriff's Department responded to fifty-six calls involving problems at this location between January 1, 1997 and January 13, 1998. Further, credible testimony clearly indicates that the operation of the Petitioner's business "tends to create a public nuisance" for the surrounding residents. See S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-580(5) (Supp. 1997).
  5. Given the record of frequent criminal disturbances at this location, and the adverse impact the operation of this establishment has had on the neighborhood, granting this permit would be harmful to the general welfare of the community.

This tribunal is well aware that Petitioner has held a permit at location for approximately eighteen years. Nonetheless, this fact alone does not entitle him to continued licensure. A beer and wine permit is neither a contract nor a property right. It is a "mere permit, issued or granted in the exercise of the police power of the state to do what otherwise would be unlawful to do; and to be enjoyed so long as the restrictions and conditions governing their continuances are complied with." Feldman v. South Carolina Tax Comm'n, 203 S.C. 49, 26 S.E.2d 22 (1943).

Moreover, the members of this community are entitled to be free from the kinds of criminal activity, breach of peace, excess litter and traffic problems caused by Petitioner's business. "The right of a person to use his own property does not entitle him to violate the peace and comfort of others in the vicinity." 3 S.C. Juris Breach of Peace § 7 (1991). The Intervenor testified that the community has experienced relief from the disturbances associated with Petitioner's business during the short interim renewal period in which he has not been permitted to sell beer and wine. See Fowler v. Lewis, 260 S.C. 54, 194 S.E.2d 191 (1973) (holding that permit properly denied where disorderly situation would be worsened by making alcohol immediately available).

  1. As the trier of fact, the issuance or denial of a permit rests within the sound discretion of this tribunal. Inherent in the power to issue a permit is also the power to refuse it. Terry v. Pratt, 258 S.C. 177, 187 S.E.2d 884 (1972). Refusal of licensure in the instant case is compelled because renewing Petitioner's permit would be detrimental to the inhabitants of the properties surrounding 207 Worley Road.


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

ORDERED that the application for the renewal of an on-premises beer and wine permit for the Barksdale Lunch located at 207 Worley Road, Greenville, South Carolina is denied.




Administrative Law Judge

Post Office Box 11667

Columbia, South Carolina 292211-1667

March 20, 1998

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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