Sunday alcohol sales to go to referendum

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By Stan Welch
The Anderson County Council gave final approval Tuesday night to an ordinance putting Sunday liquor sales on the November ballot as a referendum question . The referendum results will be binding. Three readings of the ordinance were required including a public hearing prior to the measure being placed on the ballot. The ordinance refers to on site sales by the drink.
A referendum from Spartanburg County several years ago allowed only for off-premises sale of beer and wine. That referendum was approved by a vote of 63 per cent to thirty seven per cent. The city of Spartanburg approved the question of Sunday sales by seventy four per cent to twenty six per cent. Each municipality within a county must adopt or refute the issue of Sunday sales individually.
Other nearby locations such as Greenville County (70 per cent) and the city of Easley (58%) also approved the sales. The data provided does not reflect whether on premises liquor consumption was included in the referendum question in those votes. Pendleton already has Sunday sales, as does Piedmont, just across the line in Greenville County.
The ordinance, as passed and presented on the referendum ballot, would be binding upon approval by the voters and would become law with no further action by the Council.
Council also approved a lease purchase agreement for $5.4 million for vehicles and other equipment. The bulk of the vehicles are designated for the Sheriff’s Office. They also approved the sale of $2.8 million worth of solid waste system revenue bonds, to be used in expanding the Starr C&D landfill, which is just a few years away from reaching capacity. $375,000 of the revenues will be spent to purchase a new cardboard baler to be used at the municipal recovery facility.
During the public comments segment of the agenda, Williamston attorney Lee Cole spoke briefly to the council, on behalf of two clients seeking a zoning change for a 2.5 acre tract of land located at 1113 Beaverdam Road. They are seeking to rezone the property in order to establish a mobile home park. Cole explained that his clients, the Patel family, would retain a buffer zone of trees around the property, which is already surrounded by numerous other mobile homes. The Patels own the convenience store that they converted from a derelict honky tonk that had been on the site for many years. The proposed site is behind that store.
Later in the meeting when the issue came up on the agenda, Councilwoman Cindy Wilson made the motion to deny the request, stating that major roadwork is scheduled for the area and that the results of those projects would have a major impact on the location. She also cited numerous police responses to the surrounding areas, saying that crime is a real problem and citing several shootings in the area. She also undertook to reassure the Patels that they would likely find other uses for the property to be much more profitable, and promised that she would do all she could to see to that.
Council voted unanimously to deny the request, despite the county staff’s recommendation to the contrary.