County passes Sunday beverage sale ordinance with 4-3 vote

Published 7:11 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The county has gone the way of local municipalities in allowing the earlier sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays.

Previously, state law restricted the sale of alcohol on Sundays to start after noon. Chocowinity, the City of Washington, Washington Park and Pantego gave approval to earlier sales before the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners vote last week during the board’s regular meeting.

Now, any business holding a current ABC permit and is located within the unincorporated areas of the county can start alcohol sales at 10 a.m. on Sundays, according to county Manager Brian Alligood.

It was the second time the issue had come before the board. In August, the board voted on the ordinance, but state law requires that an ordinance must be passed with a unanimous vote on its first reading. Passage last week was by simple majority and a single vote: commissioners Ed Booth, Ron Buzzeo, Jerry Evans and Frankie Waters voted for the ordinance; commissioners Gary Brinn, Jerry Langley and Hood Richardson voted against.

“I recommend the communion wine on Sunday morning, so I’m not going to vote for this,” Richardson said.

Alligood said there had been a lot of discussion about the ordinance before its passage. Like Richardson, some believe the earlier hour encroaches on the Sabbath. Others believe it potentially could be an economic boost.

“I think the tourism industry, as a whole statewide, has said it would help improve tourism,” Alligood said. “Overall, the hospitality and tourism industry have said, ‘We believe this to be good thing.’”