City bars may be forced to close at 2 a.m.

  • Friday, July 20, 2012

Will Georgetown restaurants and bars that serve alcohol be forced to close by 2 a.m. each night?
That is a question Georgetown City Council is expected to decide Thursday night.
Currently, any establishment in the city with on-premise consumption must stop serving liquor at 2 a.m. but can still serve beer and wine after that time.
The proposed ordinance — which will be up for final reading — would require such businesses to close at 2 a.m.
That’s because the city does not have the authority to regulate what a bar or restaurant serves but can set laws governing hours of operation, according to Georgetown Police Capt. Nelson Brown.
The alcohol-serving hours are set by the state.
Council was supposed to vote on the ordinance in June but deferred until this month after concern was expressed by some members about forcing a business to close at a certain time.
Kathy Mitchum, owner of Katz on South Fraser Street, is urging council to not pass the ordinance because she serves food after 2 a.m. She told council last month she routinely has truckers from the paper and steel mills stop in after 2 a.m. for burgers or other food. She said the new law would mean a loss in business and revenue she would make from food sales.
In agreeing with Mitchum, Councilman Rudolph Bradley said “it is not fair for council to take bread out of anyone’s mouths. I have an obligation to all who make an honest living.”
Mayor Jack Scoville said Tuesday he wants to hear from the police department Thursday evening before deciding how he will vote.
“It is a problem. And we need to solve the problem without creating new problems,” he said.

Sales tax resolution

In other business, at the request of Councilman Paige Sawyer, Council will consider a resolution in opposition of the one-cent capital projects sales tax which — if approved by Georgetown County Council — will be on the ballot as a referendum in November.
The proposal for a referendum has received two readings from County Council and is up for final passage in August.
County Council has already received resolutions of opposition from Pawleys Island Town Council and the Pawleys Island Civic Association.

Rezoning request

Council will also consider second reading of an ordinance that would rezone slightly more than 27 acres on South Fraser Street from Low Density Residential (R-1) to Limited Industrial.
The property is located across from the former Eagle Electric site which the city purchased in 2009.
At a Georgetown Planning Commission meeting in May, attorney Dan Stacy said if the rezoning is approved, his client is interested in moving a division of their industry that has been in operation for over 35 years to this area.
He said the manufacturer wants the property because of its location, utility providers, land cost and the livability of the area.
Thursday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown City Hall.

By Scott Harper

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