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Zeeland city council approves alcohol ordinance amendments, loosening liquor laws

Posted at 10:40 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 22:46:43-05

ZEELAND, Mich. — There may soon be more places for people to grab a drink at in Zeeland.

Tonight, the city council approved a proposal that would loosen its alcohol rules and regulations.

Local business owners in Zeeland, like Mitch Bakker of StreetsTaco Kitchen, think their menu needs alcohol.

“We’re sort of dreaming about what that might look like," Bakker said. "People like to have a margarita with a taco or a beer with a taco. I think it just enhances the dinner experience.”

Zeeland banned the sale of liquor and beer until 2006, then went on to adopt some of the strictest alcohol rules in the state, until Monday night, when the city council unanimously approved an ordinance that revamps the restrictions first put in place.

“We decided, ‘Hey, it’s time to change this'," said Kevin Klynstra, Zeeland's mayor. “We would like for people to have something to do in our downtown instead of going to Holland. They don’t have to go far, they can walk to their destination.”

Mayor Klynstra's says the ordinance includes eight tweaks, including:

  • Remove cap on number of businesses that can serve/sell alcohol in the city of Zeeland, if additional sales licenses would be permitted by the state of Michigan
  • Reduce minimum number of seats in restaurants serving alcohol from 50 seats to 25 seats
  • Permitting alcohol display areas/coolers in customer waiting area or table area and permitting alcohol sales display to exceed 5% of the restaurant’s table eating and counter areas
  • Removal of bar area screening requirements 
  • Removal of food sale percentage requirements for small wineries, small distilleries and microbreweries
  • Reducing minimum age for bar tenders from age 21 to age 18
  • Eliminating requirement of entertainment permit from the city of Zeeland for establishments selling alcohol
  • Eliminating bar area percentage requirement in comparison to table or booth seating areas

Klynstra wants it to help local businesses and the area's growth.

Back at StreetsTacos Kitchen, Bakker says he plans to soon apply for a license. With it, he hopes to not only add drinks to his menu, but establish a fixture in the community.

“We think it could enhance our business," Bakker said. “There’s opportunities for us.”

In the original proposal, Sunday sales would've been allocated for special events, but the Michigan Liquor Control Commission determind this week that amendment was not legal under state law as written.

Zeeland has since removed it from the final version.

To view the ordinance for yourself, click here and type "ctrl F alcohol" to take you to the specific pages pertaining to liquor changes

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