An alcoholic beverages ordinance is causing some confusion among business owners in Roseboro, an issue that local law enforcement would like to see resolved.
During the town’s Tuesday night meeting, Sgt. Ed Vann of the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office brought to commissioners’ attention the “discrepancies” found between the town’s own alcoholic beverages ordinance and the state’s ABC laws.
“It’s a little vague…They don’t really match up to me,” said Vann after handing the commissioners copies of both documents.
According to the town’s alcoholic beverages ordinance, which Vann noted was undated, “the retail sale of malt beverages and wine is prohibited between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.”
The ordinance does note an exception — “During the period commencing on the last Sunday of April of each year, and ending on the last Sunday of October of each year, malt beverages and wine may be sold until 2 a.m.”
Vann pointed out the town’s ordinance is slightly different than Section 18B-1104 of the state’s ABC laws which states that “it shall be unlawful to sell malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, or mixed beverages between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., or to consume any of those alcoholic beverages between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. in any place that has been issued a permit under G.S. 18B-1001.”
The laws for purchasing and consuming alcohol on Sundays are particularly confusing to some Roseboro businesses, added Vann.
On Sundays, “the sale of malt beverages and wine shall not be allowed after 1 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, or 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time, on any Sunday,” determines the town’s ordinance while the state’s ABC law dictates that “it shall be unlawful to sell or consume alcoholic beverages on any licensed premises from the time at which the sale or consumption must cease on Sunday morning until 12 noon on that day.”
“Most everyone has signs on their door that they can’t sell alcohol after 12 (midnight),” said Vann, offering an example of confusion. “A lot of people, a lot of businesses are confused.”
In addition to residents and business owners’ uncertainty about which laws to follow, he further pointed out that the confusion could lead to a loss of revenue for the town, explaining that, because of the confusion, some businesses are likely stopping their sales of alcohol earlier than they probably have to under the law.
“I’m not advocating either way,” Vann continued. “I just wanted to bring it to your attention.”
Noting that when the town revised its ordinances the alcoholic beverages ordinance wasn’t part of the codification, commissioner Roland Hall questioned if Roseboro even needed its own alcoholic beverage ordinance at all.
“For those who have to enforce the law and for those who have to follow it, we need to keep it simple,” Hall said.
Acknowledging that he had a stake in the issue, commissioner Richard Barefoot, who owns Roseboro’s Railroad Street Steakhouse where alcohol is served, shared that he and others lose business in alcohol sales on Sundays possibly due to such confusion.
“One set of laws is enough,” Barefoot added.
Hall proceeded to make a motion to abstain from enforcing the town’s alcoholic beverages ordinance until further notice and that businesses and residents would be allowed to only comply the state’s ABC laws. The town board unanimously voted in favor of the motion.
To help ensure an end to the confusion, Vann requested that letters from the town reporting the commissioners’ decision be sent out to local businesses with alcohol sales.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.