South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Wayne S. Stroud, d/b/a WSS ABC vs. DOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Wayne S. Stroud, d/b/a WSS ABC
2808 Geer Hwy., Marietta, SC

South Carolina Department of Revenue

For the Petitioner:
Wayne S. Stroud, pro se

For the Protestant:
Michael D. Shipman, pro se




This matter comes before me pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 2002) and S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-310 et seq. (Supp. 2002) upon the filing of an application by Petitioner Wayne S. Stroud, d/b/a WSS ABC, (“Petitioner”), for a retail liquor license for a location at 2808 Geer Highway, Marietta, South Carolina (“the subject location”). Upon receipt of written protests to the application, the South Carolina Department of Revenue (“Department”) transmitted the case to the Administrative Law Judge Division (“ALJD”) for a hearing. After timely notice to the parties and the Protestants Footnote , a contested case hearing was held on December 22, 2003 at the offices of the ALJD in Columbia, South Carolina. The Department was excused from attending the hearing. Upon review of the relevant and probative evidence and applicable law, the application for a retail liquor license is granted.


Having carefully considered all testimony 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.Notice of the time, date, place, and subject matter of the hearing was given to all parties and to the Protestant in a timely manner.

2.Petitioner seeks a retail liquor license for the subject location of 2808 Geer Highway, Marietta, South Carolina.

3.The qualifications set forth in S.C. Code Ann. § 61-6-110 (Supp. 2002) concerning the age, residency, and reputation of the Petitioner are properly established. Furthermore, the Petitioner has not had a license for the sale of alcoholic liquors revoked within the last five 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 retail liquor license.

5.No other member of Petitioner’s household has been issued a retail liquor store license. Additionally, the Petitioner has not been issued more than three retail liquor licenses, nor does he have an interest, financial or otherwise, in more than three retail liquor stores.

6. The proposed location is not within five hundred feet of any church, school, or playground.

7. There is a Handee Mart across the street form the subject location which sells beer. 8.A SLED investigation of the Petitioner’s establishment determined that it complied with the applicable laws.

9.The Department was excused from the hearing on the basis of its motion indicating that it would have issued the license in question but for the unanswered questions of the suitability of the location raised by the Protestant. The Department’s file on the Petitioner’s application was admitted into evidence at the hearing.

10.The Protestant lives approximately two miles from the subject location. None of the businesses or residents in the immediate vicinity of the subject location protested the application. The Protestant is against the sale of alcohol because he is a Christian. In addition, he is concerned about the proximity of the subject location to a school, playground, day care center, and church, as well as a hair cutting business which has many women and children patrons. Footnote He believes that the granting of this application may result in increases in traffic, drunk driving, litter, and crime. Further, he is concerned about the lack of police protection in the town.


Based upon the findings of fact, I conclude as a matter of law the following:

1.S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600 (Supp. 2002) grants jurisdiction to the ALJD to hear contested cases under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”). Furthermore, S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 2002) grants the ALJD the responsibilities to determine contested matters governing alcoholic beverages, beer, and wine.

2.S.C. Code Ann. § 61-6-110 et seq. (Supp. 2002) sets forth the requirements for determining eligibility for a retail liquor license.

3.Licenses issued by the State for the sale of beer, wine, and liquor are not rights or property, but are rather privileges granted in the exercise of the police power of the State to be used and enjoyed only so long as the restrictions and conditions governing them are complied with. As the tribunal authorized to grant the issuance of a license is also authorized, for cause, to revoke it, that tribunal is likewise authorized to place restrictions or conditions on the license. See Feldman v. S.C. Tax Comm’n, 203 S.C. 49, 26 S.E.2d 22 (1943).

4.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 license 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).

5.The factual determination of whether or not an application is granted or denied is usually the sole prerogative of the executive agency charged with rendering that decision. Palmer v. S.C. ABC Comm’n, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984). 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 retail liquor license using broad but not unbridled discretion. Ronald F. Byers v. S.C. ABC Comm’n, 281 S.C. 566, 316 S.E.2d 705 (Ct. App. 1984). It is also the fact finder’s responsibility to judge the demeanor and credibility of witnesses and determine the relevance and weight of any testimony and evidence offered.

6.Although “proper location” is not statutorily defined, broad discretion is vested in the judge in determining the fitness or suitability of a particular location. Fast Stops, Inc. v. Ingram, 278 S.C. 593, 281 S.E.2d 118 (1981). 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). Any evidence adverse to the location may be considered. The proximity of a location to a church, school, or residences is a proper ground by itself upon which the location may be found to be unsuitable and a license denied. Byers v. S. C. ABC Comm’n, 305 S.C. 243, 407 S.E.2d 653 (1991). Further, the court can consider whether “there have been law enforcement problems in the area.” Palmer v. S.C. ABC Comm’n, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984).

7.In considering the suitability of a location, it is relevant to consider whether the testimony in opposition to the granting of a license 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, 261 S.C. 168, 198 S.E.2d 801 (1973).

8. An aversion to the sale of alcoholic beverages is not within the statutory grounds for denial of a license request. See 48 C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors Sections 118, 119, 121 (181).

9.To some extent, the Protestant is asking the ALJD to effectuate zoning. The ultimate purpose of zoning is to confine certain classes of buildings and uses to certain localities. 101A C.J.S. Zoning and Land Planning § 101 (1979). Such authority is vested solely in the local government.

10.Giving weight to the testimony of the Petitioner and the Protestant, I find that the proposed location is suitable for a retail liquor license. I further find that the application for a retail liquor license should be granted.


Based upon the foregoing findings of fact and conclusions of law,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Petitioner’s application for a retail liquor license for the location at 2808 Geer Highway, Marietta, South Carolina, is granted.





December 22, 2003

Columbia, South Carolina

Brown Bldg.






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