Nags Head delays vote on Sunday morning alcohol sales

By on July 7, 2017

 One week after the N.C. General Assembly passed a law that lets local governments decide to allow Sunday morning alcohol sales in their jurisdictions, Nags Head could have become the first municipality here to grant its approval.

But on a 3-2 vote, Nags Head commissioners turned down a proposal on Wednesday to let Sunday booze sales at restaurants and stores move from noon to 10 a.m., then voted in a special session Friday by the same margin to postpone a decision until July 19 and include a public hearing.

Mayor Bob Edwards and commissioners John Ratzenberger and Marvin Demers voted in the majority both times. Mayor Pro Tem Susie Walters and Commissioner Renee Cahoon cast the other two votes.


In tense exchanges Friday, the two sides clashed on whether sufficient public notice was provided for the special meeting, although Town Attorney John Leidy was consulted beforehand on how to proceed.

On Wednesday, Leidy had advised commissioners that they could act on the local provisions of SL 2017-87 and NCGS 160A-205.3 at any time. But a motion to adopt the ordinance failed 3-2, as did a motion to hold a special meeting Friday.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Walters exercised her powers under the town’s charter to call for Friday’s special session. A public notice was subsequently sent out.

Edwards and Walters traded sharp exchanges in e-mails between the meetings.

“I have made my decision which I believe to be in the best interest of our entire community,” Walters wrote. “I have hand delivered the appropriate written notice with my signature to the town clerk. We must agree to disagree on this matter as a public hearing is not required.”


In response, Edwards wrote: “Of course a public hearing is not required but sufficient public notice is certainly the best approach and the more input we get the better we serve all of the Town and not one interest group. I will be at the meeting but I am not proud to be conducting Town business in this manner.”

On Friday, Walters said more than 50 businesses would be affected by the new law and would lose significant sales because of the two-week delay. She added that they employ hundreds of local workers who also would lose additional income.

Ratzenberger said that Dare and Currituck counties had scheduled votes for the middle of the month, so Nags Head was not outside the norm for considering the new rule.


The board then voted 3 to 2 to reconvene July 19 for a public hearing and vote on the issue.

Along with licensed restaurants, retail beer and wine sales at grocery and convenience stores will be allowed at 10 a.m. under the new law, but ABC Stores will remain closed on Sundays.

Kill Devil Hills commissioners and Kitty Hawk councilors may be next to vote on the change at their meeting on Monday, Manteo’s town commissioners have put it on their agenda for Wednesday, while Dare and Currituck commissioners plan to discuss it at their July 17 meetings, and Duck town councilors on July 19.

Southern Shores leaders have not said when they will make a decision.

Carrboro became the first municipality in North Carolina to approve the change on Monday, while Raleigh, Atlantic Beach and Surf City quickly followed on Wednesday.


  • Outback Jon

    Hope the other OBX towns will have the sense to enact this while it can still benefit the businesses this summer season.

    Friday, Jul 7 @ 8:00 pm
  • Ruthless

    Why the drama? Everybody knows it is going to happen. Who cares and what does a couple hours difference make here in the good ol’ Bible Belt?

    Friday, Jul 7 @ 9:57 pm
  • Todd

    Missing was the reasoning behind their votes, yea or nae. How come?

    Friday, Jul 7 @ 10:25 pm
  • JT

    The State of Nags Head..the worst!! Unless they can impose a tax or fee to it, it’s not worth passing.

    Friday, Jul 7 @ 10:37 pm
  • SNH Homeowner

    I am pro early sales of alcohol on Sunday’s and admire Renee Cahoon and all the positive things she has done for the Town of Nags Head. I have to wonder if she should recuse herself from voting as there might be a conflict of interest?

    Saturday, Jul 8 @ 9:30 am
  • WombatNC

    Free the Mimosas!!!
    Long Live the Bloody!!
    Come on comissioners – get with the program and support this law. Tax revenues for you and enjoyment for the rest of us!

    Saturday, Jul 8 @ 9:44 am
  • George Howe

    Isn’t it a conflict if interest that commissioner cahoon votes either way on this since she is a retailer of alcohol?

    Saturday, Jul 8 @ 11:51 am
  • Surfman

    Passing this is a no brainer, but it looks like a few of our politicos actually have no brains. Pass the thing and move on.

    Saturday, Jul 8 @ 3:37 pm
  • Susie Walters

    This proposed ordinance would apply town wide and would currently affect 56 Nags Head Businesses. Therefore, there is no conflict for Commissioner Cahoon. If this was an isolated matter affecting her, there would be a conflict.

    Saturday, Jul 8 @ 7:00 pm
  • Susie Walters

    Below is information from the School of Government on the Brunch Bill

    Saturday, Jul 8 @ 7:02 pm
  • surf123

    Like 2 hours is going to make a difference.

    Sunday, Jul 9 @ 2:28 pm
  • Manteoer

    I understand the idea of Renee recusing herself bc of selling alcohol. But, while valid in reasoning would
    It not also apply to anyone whom regularly attends a religious service on the other side of the discussion if that is their point for opposition?

    Monday, Jul 10 @ 7:19 am
  • dave

    Can’t buy alcohol on Sundays till noon, but you can get your daily dose of methadone at 5:30 am on Sundays. Nice.

    Monday, Jul 10 @ 8:18 am
  • Perry

    The Nation of Nags Head again enforcing its reputation as anti business and needing to control beyond reason everything.

    Tuesday, Jul 11 @ 7:56 am
  • Perry

    Brunch in KDH this Sunday!

    Tuesday, Jul 11 @ 7:57 am
  • Scales of Balance

    This was held up by two crabby old men who resist change in any form. Nags Head is not a retirement community.

    Tuesday, Jul 11 @ 10:11 am
  • Bud

    Why ruin ones entire day with alcohol in the morning?

    Tuesday, Jul 11 @ 6:52 pm
  • 252 Local

    cant drink all day unless you start in the morning! But methadone clinic has ZERO public hearing? Come on Nags head!

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 9:21 am
  • dave

    Hey “Mayor” Edwards, look at the calendar; yeah, it says 2017, not 1817. Way to kill a lot of $$$ for the community and its workers/residents. Good Job!

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 1:46 pm
  • Seems ok

    I don’t need a drink in the morning…or ever.
    But my favorite restaurant in nags head doesn’t open until noon on Sunday cause they can’t sell drinks.

    Wednesday, Jul 12 @ 8:33 pm
  • Doug

    It’s not anyone’s business what time someone wants to have a drink. I personally don’t need one before noon, but I’m not going to tell another adult they can’t. As long as they are responsible. I can’t believe this is even a topic for discussion.

    Sunday, Jul 16 @ 1:03 pm
  • Paddieme

    I was surprised when the so called “small government” and ” free market” republicans took over North Carolina didn’t get out of the alcohol business.

    Tuesday, Jul 18 @ 11:34 am
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