Hartsville residents to vote on Sunday alcohol sales
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
When residents of Hartsville enter the voting booth this November, they’ll have the opportunity to decide whether their city allows limited alcohol sales on Sunday.
This referendum on the city’s local “blue laws” came about after Hartsville City Council’s March 8 meeting where council voted 6 to 1 to approve Ordinance 4236, calling for a public vote to determine whether the SC Department of Revenue may issue temporary (24-hour) permits to sell alcoholic liquors for on-premises consumption, and beer and wine for off-premises consumption, without regard to days or hours of sale.
Council member Adlena Graham asked for clarification as to which businesses could sell alcohol and when, and city manager Natalie Zeigler explained that this ordinance would not allow ABC stores to sell hard liquor on Sunday.
“Liquor stores will not be allowed to open. Convenience stores and grocery stores can sell beer and wine, and restaurants would be permitted to sell (alcoholic liquors),” Zeigler said.
Citizen Patricia Tomlinson spoke in favor of the ordinance during the mandatory public hearing, noting that many Hartsville residents, like herself, often head to Florence or Sumter for Sunday brunch so they can enjoy a glass of wine with their meal. Tomlinson noted that current rules prohibiting Sunday alcohol sales are based on religious observations that might not apply uniformly to all citizens.
“I wanted to respectfully remind council that not everyone worships in the same way and on the same day,” said Tomlinson, adding a plea to her District 6 council representative William Shirley to please vote in favor of the ordinance.
With no further comments, the public hearing closed and Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Andrews made a motion to approve. Council member Robert Braddock provided a second, and the ordinance passed by a count of 7 to 1, with Shirley casting the only “no” vote.
Also on the agenda, council passed first reading of Ordinance 4240, which would establish special property tax assessments for rehabilitated historic properties. Under this “Bailey Bill” program, an owner could apply to have their property assessed by the City of Hartsville for historic status, and if that designation is granted they could receive preferential tax rates for a period of 5 to 20 years depending on how much they spend to rehab the property.
Mayor Mel Pennington and Mayor Pro Tem Andrews explained that after the city investigated the possibility of establishing a formal Historic District, it was decided to instead pursue this type of program where a property owner’s participation in the historic designation and rehabilitation process is voluntary, not mandated by where they live.
Council also approved $40,000 for APD Urban Planning and Management LLC to conduct a housing affordability and marketability study, and approved funding of $20,000 to continue the derelict dwelling demolition project, conducted through the Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville.