Charleston drinking ban could soon include some private property

Charleston's City Council is considering a change in the law that bans the public consumption of alcohol.  

The existing ordinance prohibits an open container or the consumption of alcoholic beverages on city streets, sidewalks, alleys, public ways, a park or playground.

Tuesday, council members passed the first reading of an ordinance that would also include some private property in the alcohol ban.

District 1 Councilman Gary White said of the proposal, "anytime that we legislate private property, it's cause for concern for me."

White said the amendment came about after Charleston law enforcement officers mentioned a problem dealing with bar crowds after hours.

"When people exit bars at 2AM, they're congregating at convenience stores, and he's used the word, 100 people hanging out at a convenience store parking lot," White said, referring to a statement from Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen in Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The proposed amendment would not include bans on alcohol consumption if the owner's permission is granted.  

Council members are expected to review the amendment in a second and third reading before any changes are made.

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