Orange County

Orange County now sells alcohol at 10 a.m. Sundays, but one key town is still debating it

Bars, restaurants and stores located in the rural parts of Orange County can now sell alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays, following a vote Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
Bars, restaurants and stores located in the rural parts of Orange County can now sell alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays, following a vote Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Commissioners. File photo

Orange County residents won’t have to drive into town to buy beer or a mixed drink on Sunday mornings.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners, with little discussion, became the latest government body Tuesday to approve a local “brunch bill” rule. The change means restaurants, bars and stores in the rural areas of the county can sell alcohol starting at 10 a.m. Sundays.

The General Assembly authorized towns and counties this summer to change their rules and allow alcohol sales before noon on Sundays. So-called brunch bills already have been approved in Carrboro, Durham, Raleigh, Hillsborough and Pittsboro. Chatham County’s Board of Commissioners have not yet made the change.

Orange County officials, echoing other governments, cited the economic benefit that earlier alcohol sales will provide to hospitality, retail and small businesses. The sales also are expected to generate additional sales tax revenues for the county.

Chapel Hill, which approved Sunday morning alcohol sales for restaurants and bars in July, is expected to hold a public hearing on retail store sales Wednesday, Sept. 13. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Council Chamber, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

Other business

▪ The Orange County Board of Commissioners officially repealed the county’s impact fee ordinance Tuesday.

The county first got the authority from the state in 1987 as a way to help pay for school construction. The General Assembly revoked the county’s authority to charge the fee to housing developers in June.

The change has been estimated to cost the county $2.8 million each year, plus $1.18 million in developer payments that were refunded this summer.

▪ Morinaga America Foods Inc. has created at least 91 jobs since opening in May 2016 in western Orange County, officials said, exceeding the requirements of a local and state incentives package. Roughly 72 percent of the new hires qualify as low and moderate income, officials said.

The Japanese company also agreed to invest up to $48 million in land, buildings and equipment, and have a $3.4 million annual payroll by Jan. 31, 2018. In return, Morinaga is being reimbursed a portion of its property taxes over five years and utilities have been extended to the site.

The county held a public hearing Tuesday before closing out a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state that helped pay to install water and sewer infrastructure. The county paid a local match of $232,995 toward the utility project.

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