East Lansing City Council to discuss banning additional hookah lounges

The East Lansing City Council will kick off the new year discussing a potential ban on more hookah lounges downtown and the future of the boarded-up site for the failed City Center II project during Tuesday’s work session.

One of the hot topics that might drum up conversation at the regularly scheduled work session at City Hall, 410 Abbot Rd., is a proposed public ordinance to ban any additional hookah lounges from opening in East Lansing.

The proposed ordinance would not eliminate any current hookah lounges in the area, such as the Blue Midnight Hookah Lounge, 330 Albert Ave.

East Lansing Mayor Diane Goddeeris said the proposed ordinance is meant to maintain the image of the downtown area, as a hookah lounge is not the type of establishment the city might want to promote.

The application from City Center Two Project, LLC and Cada Investment Group, LLC to build two four-story buildings on 100 and 124-140 W. Grand River Ave. also will be discussed at the meeting.

The project, formerly known as City Center II, had its site application unanimously rejected at a Dec. 5, 2012, East Lansing Planning Commission meeting. The site plan has been revised since then, including eliminating residential living on the first floor.

Other issues discussed by the City Council in its meeting on Dec. 18, 2012 include a rejected proposal to suspend the reporting requirement of the city’s 50/50 rule, which requires half of a restaurant’s sales come from food sales.

Crunchy’s general manager Mike Krueger said he was disappointed City Council did not suspend the reporting requirement and said he thinks the 50/50 rule is “ridiculous.”

“(The 50/50) rule is old and outdated and doesn’t have a place in East Lansing,” he said.

Goddeeris said she doesn’t believe the council will revisit the 50/50 rule anytime soon, since it didn’t have “majority support from council” for suspending it.

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