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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Georgia H. Robinson, d/b/a Wink's vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Georgia H. Robinson, d/b/a Wink's

South Carolina Department of Revenue

For the Petitioner: Kenneth E. Allen, Esquire

For the Protestant Rev. Michael Bright, Pro Se




This matter comes before the Administrative Law Judge Division pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §§61-2-90 and 61-2-260 (Supp. 1997) and S. C. Code Ann. §§1-23-310 et seq. (1986 and Supp. 1997) for a contested case hearing. The Petitioner, Georgia H. Robinson, seeks an off-premise beer and wine permit for Wink's. The Department made a Motion to be Excused which was granted by my Order dated March 25, 1998. A hearing was held on May 19, 1998, at the Administrative Law Judge Division.

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 Petitioner 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, Protestants, and South Carolina Department of Revenue.

2. The Petitioner recently began operating Wink's at Box 3668, Highway 177, Wallace, South Carolina. She originally sought an on-premise beer and wine permit. However, at the hearing she amended her application to seek only an off-premise beer and wine permit for the location.

3. The qualifications set forth in S. C. Code Ann. §61-4-520 (Supp. 1997) 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 has no criminal record and 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 Petitioner's proposed location has been permitted for the sale of beer and wine most of the last 20 years. In fact, in the past her husband held an off-premise beer and wine permit for approximately three years at the location.

7. The Protestant argued that the location is not suitable for the on-premise sale of beer and wine. He presented evidence concerning the proximity of the location to nearby residences and an elementary school. Furthermore, there were past problems at the location with individuals urinating outside of the location when it was permitted for on-premise sale of beer and wine. Since the Petitioner now seek only an off-premise permit, these concerns have been alleviated.

8. The Protestant also argued that because beer and wine harms the lives of those who drink it so greatly, the sale of it should be barred from this location.

9. The proposed location is suitable for an off-premise beer and wine permit.


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. 1997) grants jurisdiction to the Administrative Law Judge Division to hear contested cases under the Administrative Procedures Act.

2. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 1997) grants the Administrative Law Judge Division the responsibilities to determine contested matters governing alcoholic beverages, beer and wine.

3. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520 (Supp. 1997) sets forth the requirements for the issuance of an off-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. In considering the suitability of a location, it is relevant to consider the previous history of the location and to determine whether the testimony in opposition to the granting of a permit 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).

9. One of the Protestants challenges to the suitability of the proposed location is rooted in his disdain for the sell of beer and wine in South Carolina. This Court acknowledges the Protestant's right to hold such sentiments. However, the basis of his opposition is not a statutory grounds for denial of a permit. See 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors §§ 118, 119, 121 (1981). In other words, the General Assembly has authorized the sale of beer and wine in South Carolina. Therefore, the Protestant's aversion to the sale of beer and wine at the proposed location is not a sufficient basis to deny Petitioner's application.

10. The Petitioner meets the statutory requirements for holding an off-premise beer and wine permit at the proposed location.


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

ORDERED that the off-premise beer and wine permit application of Georgia H. Robinson for Wink's be granted upon the Petitioner's payment of the required fee and cost.



Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge

May 20, 1998

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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