Saluda approves, Tryon tables enacting “Brunch Bill”

Published 5:05 pm Friday, August 18, 2017


SALUDA/TRYON – Saluda businesses will be able to serve alcohol on Sundays at 10 a.m. instead of noon, but the decision in Tryon was tabled for more information.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday, Aug. 14 and approved enacting the “Brunch Bill” with mayor Fred Baisden breaking a tie vote in favor of allowing the change.

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Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, Aug. 15 and tabled the discussion after commissioners wanted more information, including if the town could change the time to 11 a.m. and if the town could only have it apply to restaurants and not retailers.

In Saluda, Stan Walker, who was one to vote in favor of the ordinance, said he just can’t understand why anybody can’t get through two hours without a drink, especially on Sunday. But, Walker said, if they are going to have a drink, they’ll buy it the night before.

Commissioner Carolyn Ashburn, the other to vote in favor, said she went to a Saluda Business Association meeting last month and there were several restaurant owners there that said even though hard liquor isn’t allowed in Saluda anyway, people do drink mimosas and they would appreciate the bill being passed.

Others in the audience spoke of the bill being beneficial to the truck stops and Dollar General, which also sells alcohol.

In Tryon, town manager Zach Ollis said South Carolina changed its law about alcohol and the sales in North Carolina have dropped. He said legislation gave local governments the authority to allow with certain permits, to sell alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Commissioner Crys Armbrust said he thinks Tryon should enact it to help with economic development.

Ollis said he is not exactly sure how many businesses it would affect in Tryon, but the bill states it will allow the hospitality community and retail merchants to meet the needs of their customers.

Commissioner Bill Ingham said he doesn’t think the intent of the bill is to encourage people to drink earlier.

Commissioner Chrelle Booker said in thinking of the youth, she doesn’t want to see anyone at Huckleberry’s drinking at 10 in the morning. Booker also said if this is allowed, the police are going to have to police more and there will be more arrests and then business will complain that the police are ruining their businesses.

“I understand your point,” Ingham said to Booker. “If somebody wants to pick up a bottle the night before, nothing is going to stop them.”

A resident from the audience suggested Tryon amend the ordinance to only cover restaurants, not convenience stores.

Armbrust said it is called the Brunch Bill but if the town only made it applicable to restaurants that seems to him the town would be inhibiting retail growth.

“That seems monstrously unfair to me,” said Armbrust.

Ingham said he’d rather not see retail stores selling alcohol before noon.

Booker asked what kind of profits the town would make.

Ollis said the town would not profit anything, just the businesses.

Ingham said the town would be doing this more for customers.

“I thought it was more convenient for restaurants if somebody wants to have a mimosa at breakfast they could have one,” said Ingham.

Resident Joyce Kimpton said her husband was driving to Landrum in 2004 when a group of young men were coming to Tryon, specifically to get drunk and this was not their first offense.

“I think we take some responsibility if we encourage people to come from South Carolina,” said Kimpton.

Ingham said when he thinks of “brunch,” he doesn’t see that including convenience stores and the IGA.

Armbrust said the town needs to respect the rights of retailers to come back to the town and request they revise the ordinance if it goes through without retailers.

Tryon attorney William Morgan said he thinks the town can amend the ordinance, to take retailers out and change the time, but he hasn’t heard of a jurisdiction doing that.

“It could be problematic,” Morgan said. “We can bring it back next month.”

Resident Anne Day suggested making the ordinance at 11 a.m., since restaurants don’t open until 11 a.m.

Ollis agreed to look into the capabilities to change the ordinance to 11 a.m., exclude retail, and to bring the ordinance back to commissioners in September.

The Town of Columbus met Thursday, Aug. 17, but the Brunch Bill was not on the town’s agenda.