The Havelock Board of Commissioners voted against a proposal to allow the sale of alcohol before noon on Sundays.

The board voted 3-2 against the proposal, with commissioners Karen Lewis, Jim Kohr, and Danny Walsh voting against the measure. Commissioners Brenda Wilson and Pete Van Vliet voted in favor of the change.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed N.C. General Assembly Session Law 2017-87, known as the “Sunday Brunch Bill,” into law on June 30, 2017. The law allows restaurants to begin serving mimosas and other alcoholic beverages at 10 a.m. on Sundays instead of noon, as state law previously mandated. Local government boards must first approve the change, which also applies to sales of alcohol in stores.

Town and city councils can make the change inside their borders, while county commissioners are in charge of any unincorporated areas.

As of November 2017, a total of 128 cities and towns have adopted the Sunday Brunch Bill. New Bern and Morehead City passed ordinances adopting the bill in July 2017, while Newport approved the ordinance in September 2017.

The measure was originally taken up by the Havelock Board of Commissioners last month, but the item was tabled until Monday night’s meeting.

Kohr said he voted against the measure based on his belief that it would pose safety concerns for Havelock residents.

“The General Assembly gave the municipalities the option to do what’s right for their citizens,” said Kohr. “The majority of correspondence we had and people who showed up to give their opinion were against this measure. This wasn't going to affect businesses the way some have said it will, but it would present an increased public safety issue. So out of concern for the safety of the citizens and respect for it being Sunday is why I voted the way I did.”

According to the meeting agenda, the measure received support from a number of local Havelock businesses. Additionally, the N.C. Retail Merchants Association provided commissioners with a letter of support requesting that the city adopt a Sunday Brunch Bill ordinance.

An unscientific poll on the subject run by the Havelock Chamber of Commerce through its Facebook page showed that 69 percent of the 193 poll respondents supported sales of alcohol beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays.