Public protest likely scuttles drinking at Columbia movie house

The Wynnsong 10 Cinema’s request to serve beer and wine to theatergoers at its Forest Drive movie house has been shot down at least for now because of opposition to the proposal, the S.C. Department of Revenue said Thursday.

“This is a part of our normal procedures whenever it comes to issuing (ABC) licenses,” said agency spokeswoman Bonnie Swingle, explaining the agency’s procedures. “Once someone protests, and it’s a valid protest, then we can deny the license based on the protest.”

Once notified of the rejection, the business then has 90 days to contest the decision, Swingle said. If the decision is appealed, the agency’s Alcoholic Beverage Licensing division will review the decision and issue a department determination.

If the division upholds the permit denial, the business has 30 days to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Court judge. The judge could issue a final decision immediately after the hearing or usually within 30 days, Swingle said.

Carmike Cinemas declined again Thursday to comment on its to seek a license to sell alcoholic beverages at the Forest Drive theater. The company last year pulled out of a bid to sell beer and wine at a Mobile, Ala., theater where a local church mounted strong protests against the licensing.

The Carmike Cinema’s Wynnsong 10 movie house on Forest Drive applied for an on-premise beer and wine license April 24, the beverage licensing division said. The public had until May 13 to submit written objections. By late Thursday, two letters of protest had been received, Swingle said.

More protest letters could still be in the pipeline, she said, declining to identify the protesters by name. Swingle said one letter was from an individual and the other from an organization.

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Twitter: @RoddieBurris