York residents have mixed reactions to pending vote

YORK -- Word that a county vote could supersede York's 2006 decision to not allow Sunday alcohol sales is getting mixed reactions from the city's residents.

Supporters are glad for a second shot, while those who oppose Sunday sales think the county should let the decision rest in the hands of area municipalities.

In April 2006, 322 York voters said no to a proposal to allow Sunday alcohol sales at bars and restaurants in city limits, compared to 257 "yes" votes.

The city isn't allowed to put another referendum on the ballot until 48 months after the last vote, but the recent announcement that it will appear on the York County 2008 ballot supersedes that. If passed, all York County businesses will be under the same guidelines, said Adrienne Fairwell, public relations director for the state Department of Revenue, which regulates the licenses for alcohol sales.

But those who oppose Sunday alcohol sales say there's no need for another vote.

"That is a terrible, terrible thing to put up for the voters," said John Hunter, an active conservative in York. "We've already voted it down in York and Rock Hill voted it up, so let's just leave it be."

Allowing Sunday alcohol sales could bring about more drunk driving accidents, said Hunter. He also has religious concerns with the proposal.

"The fourth commandment is still in the Bible -- remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, keeping it holy is not going out and drinking wherever they want to."

Many restaurant and bar owners are glad to have a second chance.

J.P. Munn, owner and manager of The Cotton Gin in York, said he was disappointed with York's vote on Sunday alcohol sales.

"I feel this town is kind of stuck in the past," Munn said.

The move by the county is progressive, he said.

"It means that we're kind of getting out of our Southern Baptist thoughts and getting into the real world and coming to grips with what's going on around us," Munn said. "It's definitely a positive."

Other restaurant owners fear they're losing money to cities that do allow alcohol on Sundays.

Teresa James, owner of The Garden Cafe in York, said she loses business to Charlotte.

"The reason I know is because I'm from Charlotte and sometimes when I go up on Sunday, I see a lot of people from York out there," she said.

York Mayor Eddie Lee said the town hasn't taken a position on the issue, although he admits it could be good for business.

"Back when it came up the first go-around, a lot representatives of those upper-end restaurants -- Applebees, O'Charley's and Outback -- they came through town and said they needed that extra day," Lee said. "It could generate tremendous economic activity on that (S.C. 5) bypass in terms of restaurants."