City of West Michigan, “dry” until 2006, removes cap on alcohol licenses


ZELAND, MI – Zeeland politicians have approved the city’s rules being relaxed on the number and types of establishments that can serve alcohol.

Among the changes unanimously approved on Monday evening December 20 by the Zeeland City Council, small restaurants are eligible to serve alcohol and restrictions on the maximum number of establishments that can serve alcohol will be removed. City Councilor Phung Lam was absent.

The current ordinance, which will now be changed following the vote, only allows up to four restaurants to serve alcohol in the city. The revisions approved on Monday will remove this cap.

The ordinance was put in place when the city ended its nearly 100-year-old ban on serving alcohol in 2006, which Mayor Kevin Klynstra said was a close vote.

City rules were intentionally stricter than state requirements, Klynstra said. From now on, the city’s alcohol rules will align more closely with those of the state.

“Our liquor establishments – the restaurants that have had the licenses – they’ve proven that we don’t have a problem,” he said. “Because of them, that’s why we could make these changes now. I think they got the trust of the people of Zealand and we can go on from there.

Related: West Michigan City That Was ‘Dry’ Until 15 Years Ago May Abolish Cap On Businesses Serving Alcohol And More

Klynstra called the changes weak. He said they would help grow businesses and make it easier for businesses already in Zeeland as well as those looking to set up.

“Businesses just know that if they follow the (Michigan Liquor Control Commission) rules, they will follow the Zeeland rules,” he said.

While no one offered a public comment on the changes on Monday, city officials said several representatives of downtown businesses expressed support during the public hearing and first reading of the changes to the city. ordinance on December 6. No resident during this public hearing expressed concern.

Abby deRoo, the city’s marketing director, said the changes will bring new businesses to the city center and welcome existing ones.

An existing business, she said, is considering applying for a license to serve alcohol as soon as the changes are made.

While the changes to the ordinance will allow more establishments to serve alcohol, it will not facilitate the legal process to obtain a license.

“Any candidate who wants to get a license still has to go through the same extensive application process, checking their background with the City and State of Michigan, so we don’t legally facilitate someone’s licensing.” DeRoo said previously. noted. “There is always all this due diligence that will be carefully done. “

Here is a list of approved changes:

  • Remove the limit on the number of alcohol consumption permits on site. The current cap, based on population quota permits, is currently four.
  • Allow restaurants with 25 or more seats to serve alcohol. Currently, only restaurants with 50 seats or more can serve.
  • Remove the rules requiring a screen separating the bar from the dining room.
  • Eliminate food income requirements for microbreweries, small distilleries and small winemakers.
  • Remove restrictions on seating in bars.
  • Reduce the age requirement for bartenders from 21 to 18.
  • Eliminate the city’s entertainment and dance permit fees at establishments serving alcohol.
  • Continue to ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
  • Eliminate space and location requirements around alcohol displays.
  • Continue to not allow gas stations to sell alcohol.
  • Maintain current food income requirements for all other establishments.

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