The East Lansing City Council should be commended for approving dance floors for local businesses.
The council approved requests for dance floors at Troppo, 213 Ann St., and Spartan Sports Den, 1227 E. Grand River Ave., on Tuesday.
The requests were approved by the planning commission, after which several conditional amendments were added. Troppos request passed unanimously, but Spartan Sports Dens received one negative vote from Mayor Pro Tem Beth Schwarze.
The council should be commended for listening to what the people want and allowing dance floors to be placed in the restaurants. Patrons of these businesses would most likely dance anyway and might already be dancing in the restaurants.
Establishments must have a certain entertainment permit to allow dancing or they can lose their liquor licenses. The owners of these restaurants should be given credit for seeking permits so they can serve their patrons to their full satisfaction and still remain within the perimeters of the law.
Despite reservations, council members may have had, it was right to reward the owners for doing the right thing.
Some council members expressed concerns about the amount of alcohol being distributed in the restaurants once the dance floors were in place. They expressed concerns that the wait staff would have a hard time monitoring the alcohol intake of its patrons.
It is unlikely a dance floor would cause a significant increase in excessive alcohol consumption. As it stands now, patrons could get a drink from their waiter and then go to the bar for another without the waiter knowing. No system allows for foolproof monitoring of alcohol intake, and it is unlikely dance floors would cause more of a problem.
If businesses dont see a problem with dance floors and excessive drinking, the city council shouldnt either. It is bad publicity for a restaurant to be cited in an alcohol-related incident, and it is unlikely business owners would put themselves in a position that could cause problems for their businesses.
Council members expressed concerns that a dance floor would change the atmosphere and genre of Troppo. Troppos owner expressed no plans to change the atmosphere of the restaurant from the fine dining establishment it was intended to be.
It is not the city councils job to dictate how a business is run, only to make sure it follows the law. If a business owner wishes to expand, the council should help the business improve any way it can.
East Lansing does not offer many places to both dine and dance. These restaurants are offering more options to the people of East Lansing for entertainment. This also offers an alternative to those who want to dance but dont like dance clubs.
While the issues the East Lansing City Council expressed concerns about are unlikely to become problematic, its vote to approve dance floors at local restaurants is commendable.