City council discusses liquor license renewal, reducing gun violence


Editor’s note: This story has been changed to accurately reflect the number of assaults and fights at Harper’s.

A resolution to declare a temporary ban approving new restaurants serve liquor past midnight, the liquor license renewal process for restaurants and supporting a resolution to reduce gun violence in the U.S. were discussed at Wednesday’s City Council work session at City Hall, 410 Abbot Road.

With a recent string of restaurants approved for liquor licenses by council — including the Black Cat Bistro, 115 Albert Ave., and Maru Sushi and Grill, 1500 W. Lake Lansing Road — a temporary ban on future restaurants staying open past midnight is being proposed to allow staff to analyze ordinances, policies and procedures such as the 50/50 law and history of alcohol-related violations in the area.

The potential ban only would last 180 days, and restaurants that currently have an application going through the city, such as East Lansing’s HopCat, would not be affected by the ban.

“I think this is the right idea,” Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett said. “We used a similar mechanism during our development of the medical marijuana ordinance. I think it worked pretty well to preserve the status quo for a window where staff had some leeway to be able to look at a problem and devise a solution without having to worry about pressure from applicants.”

Council also discussed the liquor license renewal process for the restaurants in the city with representatives from the East Lansing Police Department, including Chief Juli Liebler.

Liebler said in terms of liquor law violations, there has been an improvement from this year to last.

“A lot of the violations this year were sting failures,” she said. “We’re not seeing the egregious, over intoxication, overcrowding. Those issues are something that concerned us.”

Councilmember Vic Loomis said he applauded the efforts of members of both the ELPD and restaurants for confiscating fake IDs from patrons.

Dublin Square Irish Pub, 327 Abbot Road, confiscated almost 100 IDs last year. Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub, 131 Albert Ave., reported turning over 77 to a liquor control officer.

“I was both impressed and amazed with the number of false IDs (the restaurants) are finding and turning over to (the ELPD),” he said. “I’m amazed they’re that many people trying to get into these places.”

A report on the liquor license violations and police reports filed at local bars and restaurants detailed reports of a cocaine sale at The Landshark, 101 E. Grand River Ave., two assaults and four fights at Harper’s, and a bouncer at Dublin Square Irish Pub being slashed by a knife as they manned the door.

Council members will review recent reported incidents at establishments as they determine whether to renew liquor licenses before they expire April 30.

Another resolution, titled “A Resolution In Support of the Fix Gun Checks Act and Other Measures to Reduce Gun Violence,” was discussed at the meeting. The name was changed later in the meeting from Mayor’s Against Gun Violence Resolution to better clarify its purpose. The resolution calls for the support of the federal government to reduce gun violence and mass shootings the U.S. has had in recent months.

Mayor Diane Goddeeris said she signed the resolution and brought it forward to see if the community would formally adopt it.

Council set the resolution for the consent agenda at next week’s regular meeting.

Council also discussed potentially decreasing the number of driving lanes from three to two on Michigan Avenue.

While the number of lanes would be reduced, the width would stay the same and a buffer would be placed between the bike lane and car lanes.

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