Proposed ordinance may force Charleston Beer Works to leave King Street

By Gregory

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A proposed downtown ordinance to force new businesses that sell alcohol to close at midnight may have a loophole.

Tim Maahs owns Charleston Beer Works. His business has been around for more than a decade.

Maahs says when he planned to move his restaurant a few doors down from his current establishment on upper King Street, his attorney warned him that if the mayor's ordinance passes he would lose his right to sell alcohol until 2 a.m.

"The overlay in the entertainment district is based on the property. So when we would leave 468 King Street we would be moving to a different property that hadn't been a restaurant or a bar in the last three years so It would be considered a new restaurant. No matter what the business name or how long it's been in the community it's all tied to the property," said Maahs.

Mayor Joe Riley says the only way to protect a business is by protecting the property.

"The ordinance is a land use ordinance," said Riley. "The ordinance zones properties not businesses, so there is no way for us to grandfather in a business so they can move to a different place."

Maahs says if an exception can't be made for his restaurant he will be forced to move out Charleston.

"We want to stay here, I mean if you look at our situation and what is happening you will se that it's just not right," said Maahs.

Charleston City Council already voted in favor of the ordinance 12-1. The ordinance still has to go through two more votes before it becomes law.

Riley says there will be a public hearing in August.

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