Hookah lounge ban passed, Bistro gets liquor license
Students hangout and smoke hookah together Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, at The Six Hookah Lounge and Smoke Shop. City officials plan to restrict any more hookah lounges coming into downtown East Lansing. State News File Photo
The East Lansing City Council voted to pass two new ordinances at Tuesday’s council meeting at City Hall, 410 Abbot Road.
The council unanimously voted to ban new hookah lounges from establishing in the city. In a 4-1 vote, with Councilmember Vic Loomis the lone holdout, council voted to approve an ordinance requiring landlords to provide voter registration information to tenants at the time of move in.
Council went against criticisms from local landlords who said the voter registration requirement placed unnecessary responsibilities on businesses.
“What’s the next thing you’d like us to require that has nothing to do with our business?” DTN Management Co. President Tom Kuschinski asked council.
Students, including members of ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, supported the proposal with hopes it might increase off-campus student voter registration.
Stephen Wooden, president of MSU College Democrats and planning commissioner for the city, voiced his support of the ordinance.
“All too often, students who wish to participate in this community and wish to vote in East Lansing fall through the crack because of the archaic, outdated voting code we have in the state of Michigan,” he said.
A last-minute amendment proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett changed violations of the ordinance to civil infractions, a lightened punishment for landlords from the previous misdemeanor citation.
Council also voted to prohibit future hookah lounges from establishing in East Lansing after a single East Lansing resident, William Russell, spoke in opposition to the ordinance.
“It seems like the next step is to restrict the number of ice cream parlors in East Lansing,” he said.
Other action taken by council was a vote on the redevelopment of the properties of 341 and 345 Evergreen Ave., formerly known as Evergreen Arms. The property is on the site of the failed City Center project and is owned by the same developers.
Council voted unanimously to reject the site plan for the project, citing problems with parking and ground coverage on the property.
The last action by council was to approve the liquor license for Black Cat Bistro, which passed with a 3-2 vote.