ABBEVILLE — County Council continued its efforts to roll the clock back on early morning alcohol consumption, voting 5-1 with one abstention Monday to approve an amendment to a current ordinance. Council member Claude Thomas abstained from voting because of a "family issue" that prevented him from voting on the matter. Council member John Calhoun voted against the measure.
The language of the ordinance is identical to the original except for the times permitted for the sale, purchase, consumption of alcohol, as well as the time people can remain on the premises after alcohol sales are closed down. The ordinance moves the time for the purchase, sale, or consumption of alcohol for on-premise consumption from 3 a.m. to 2 a.m. The move comes at the urging of Abbeville County Sheriff Ray Watson.
Watson previously cited data showing 85 calls from 2010 to the present at the Peppermint Club in Abbeville County. Watson said the data was retrieved from the 911 dispatch services in Abbeville County.
"To the best of my knowledge, those are the ones that (the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office) responded to," Watson said. "It may not be the Peppermint Club themselves calling but people at the club."
But the co-owners of the Peppermint Club took to the public hearing in protest of the proposed measure.
"We're a legitimate, small business," Cedric Louden said. "It's simple facts, nobody wants to come anywhere that isn't safe. If we weren't safe, nobody would come and we'd be out of business."
Louden said the club pays about $800 a week in security expenses.
"I have three (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division)-licensed, basically police officers, that can arrest people if they need to," Louden said. "And we have five inside security personnel. I want to be able to go home to my kids, and my customers to go home to their families and Mr. Watson's deputies to go home to theirs."