GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grandville City Council is fast-tracking an ordinance that would allow all types of alcohol to be sold in the city on Sundays.
Currently, the city only allows beer and win sales on Sunday after noon. Restaurant owners say the ban affects business in Grandville because people can go to other nearby cities to have a drink.
Casual dining is “a very difficult business to be in and any kind of handicap makes it very, very difficult,” said Robert Newblatt, the director of operations for Great Lakes Dining, which runs Old Chicago and TGI Fridays. “We need every opportunity to succeed as a business.”
“You are costing the taxpayers money by failing to address the needs of everyone in Grandville, not just a few select people who still believe that you should not drink,” said resident Karilyn Frederick. “We are in the 21st century. I would like to see you take the courage to take the vote and get rid of this ordinance that prohibits the sale of liquor on Sunday. I think it’s a time we move forward.”
Other commenters said the ban may have made sense when Grandville wasn’t the only city who had a ban on Sunday, but that it no longer did.
All of the public comment at a Monday evening city council meeting — from business owners and citizens alike — were in favor of lifting the ban on Sunday booze.
Council member Andy Richter moved for an amendment to the city’s current ordinance.
“I’m not here to legislate morality,” Richter said while addressing the crowd. “Whether you drink or don’t drink, I think it’s something where we just need to level the playing field.”
City council members Josh Meringa and Andy Steenstra said they would prefer that those in support of ditching the ban circulate a petition to put the issue on the November ballot.
“I personally don’t see it as an emergency type of thing that ends to be acted on tonight,” said Meringa. “I personally think there’s a precedent for the petition drive route for this it was done back in 2006.”
A 2006 petition was approved by a margin of about 60%-40% by Grandville voters to allow beer and wine sales after noon on Sunday.
“My preference would be go the petition route and let those who are in favor of this that are looking for this put forth the effort to collect the signatures,” said Meringa.
A petition would require 1,159 signatures from registered voters.
A motion to amend the current ordinance passed by a vote of four to three.
“I don’t even know why I’m being interviewed for this. Really, it should have been just done,” Tommy Brann, the owner of Brann’s Steakhouse, said. “This isn’t going to be bad for Grandville. This is going to be good Grandville.”
The city council will vote on the amended ordinance at its next meeting on July 14.
If it fails, there’s a chance a petition could put the change on the November ballot.