Date still not set for bars proposal hearing
It remains unclear when the East Lansing City Council will discuss a proposal that would cap bar patrons and effectively prevent any future bars from opening in the city, potentially creating issues as November’s election approaches.
At its Tuesday night work session, the council did not set a date for a public hearing on a city staff proposal that would cap the number of patrons allowed in city bars at 3,300, less than the city?s current bar capacity of 3,892.
A measure to set a public hearing for Oct. 15 did not receive city council support.
Council members believe the planning commission will recommend setting a public hearing for a different date, potentially for Nov. 6 — the day after the city council elections.
The East Lansing Planning Commission is set to discuss the proposal at its meeting Wednesday, but had initially deferred consideration on the matter at its Sept. 11 meeting.
Officials cited safety concerns for residents and students, as an influx of people into downtown can create problems for police.
Mayor Diane Goddeeris and Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett both recognized the uniqueness of the situation regarding the timing of the ordinance, with elections around the corner.
But Triplett noted it would be difficult to bypass the usual process of setting a public hearing after the planning commission had made a recommendation one way or the other.
“If it were up to me, I would follow the normal process (waiting until the ordinance goes through the planning commission),” Triplett said.
Triplett said he would defer the decision to those up for election.
He added that there was a possibility that if the council waited until Nov. 6 to have the public hearing, council members might not be ready to make a decision.
Councilmember Kathleen Boyle, who is on the ballot running for a partial term, said she had concerns with postponing the decision, citing a lack of issue knowledge after Beard and Councilmember Vic Loomis finish their terms.