Booze allowed on county property

Published 5:17 pm Friday, August 20, 2021

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JACKSON – Reversing a previous policy, the Northampton Commissioners approved the serving of alcoholic beverages at the Wellness Center and other county-owned facilities that may be rented out by citizens.

The matter was discussed by the board during their regular meeting here on Aug. 16.

Commissioner Geneva Faulkner explained that they’d had several requests over the past few years, most often from people who wanted to rent space for a wedding. The previous policy did not allow alcohol to be served on the Wellness Center premises.

According to the UNC School of Government, there is nothing in North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) law or in the state’s general statutes that prohibits the possession, service, or consumption of beer and wine on city or county property, unless the local government has prohibited it in their policy.

“In general, it is legal to serve – not sell – beer and wine on county property. However, that does require that we make that an allowable option,” Faulkner said about the proposed amendment to Northampton’s current policy.

County Attorney Scott McKellar added that serving hard liquor would still require the renter to get an ABC permit. Faulkner said that they would also need a Northampton sheriff’s deputy at any event where an ABC permit is required.

Commissioner Joyce Buffaloe asked if the renter would be responsible for those costs, and Faulkner answered yes.

“This is good for our people because they’re looking for somewhere to go, especially for those kinds of celebrations,” Board Chair Charles Tyner said in support of the change.

Faulkner motioned to make the change to the policy, approving the serving of alcohol at county facilities provided that those serving it comply with all applicable ABC permitting, deputy staffing requirements, and costs.

Commissioner Kelvin Edwards provided the second. The vote was unanimously in favor without any other discussion.