alcohol at events

There will be no second vote on Sunday alcohol sales in the Cities of Laurens and Clinton.

Since voters countywide approved it, Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor at bars and restaurants, and sales of beer and wine at stores can happen in the cities, also. Laurens City Council already approved first reading of an ordinance putting the issue before the voters. Clinton City Council was ready to do the same thing Monday night. The ordinances would have required a second reading and a public hearing.

Now, none of that will have to be done.

“We do not have to vote,” Clinton City Attorney Allen Wham told the Clinton council Monday night.

The SC Department of Revenue says because Clinton and Laurens are in Laurens County, and since a majority of Laurens County voters approved Sunday sales, the county action makes the cities’ action unnecessary. That language is found in the DOR Code, state law 61-6-2010 (section F).

The cities thought they needed their own referendum because what Laurens County voters passed was Sunday sales in the “unincorporated areas” of the county.

SC DOR says, in this case, the county’s action encompasses all businesses anywhere in the county that choose to serve/sell beer, wine and liquor on Sunday. ABC stores will not be open; that’s covered under a different state law.

Wham said he called DOR Friday for clarification of a different issue. An official told him the Clinton City Council did not need to ask for a referendum in March 2019, the next municipal election date. Wham said the official said the DOR enforcement team would ignore the “unincorporated areas” language in the referendum passed by a majority of Laurens County voters.

Wham said since it’s backed up in state law, that “ignore” action could withstand a legal challenge.

Businesses that want to serve/sell alcohol on Sunday apply for a 24-hour permit.

In other action, the city clerk swore in Police Chief Sonny Ledda and Fire Chief Phillip Russell, and the council approved a resolution honoring Clinton businesswoman, the late Alice Boyce. Council adopted a resolution saying that the first ballfield in the new recreation complex will be named for Truman Owens.

Owens is a retired sports official of more than 50 years, member of the National High School Athletic Hall of Fame and Laurens County Sports Hall of Fame, and former Clinton City Council member of more than 40 years of service. The new complex is being built with hospitality tax money, and Owens was a member of the council that adopted the HTAX for the City of Clinton.

Clinton City Manager Bill Ed Cannon said the city will close on the recreation complex property, on Hwy 56 near I-26, next week. Mayor Bob McLean suggested that a public forum be held on the property (perhaps in an old barn) so Clinton residents can walk the property and develop ideas for its use/development.