Local governments consider controls on Sunday alcohol sales

Dec 7, 2010

Many communities across the state are deciding this week whether or not they should allow alcohol sales on Sunday morning. The state law allowing sales on Sunday morning and Christmas was signed into law last month. But local governments can opt their community out of the new rule.

After nearly a century as dry community, voters in Zeeland decided to allow alcohol to be sold within city limits every day but Sunday. Four years later, Zeeland has one carry out store and one restaurant that sell alcohol. Rick Van Dorp sits on city council. “I mean it was a close vote – only won by a handful of votes, maybe 14, when it did pass. And it failed a couple different times previously. So it’s kind of a contentious issue,” Van Dorp said.

“We didn’t just put this into place as an ordinance, this went to a vote of the people. So we want to make sure that – that’s their will, they didn’t want it on Sunday. That’s how the ordinance was written that they voted on that they passed. So I think we should leave that as it is.”

Zeeland’s city council voted unanimously to ask the state Liquor Control Commission not to issue special licenses that would allow Sunday morning sales. The license would allow stores or restaurants to sell alcohol beginning at 7 in the morning on Sundays.

Zeeland joins a number of other local governments in reaffirming a ban. Owosso, Bay City and Flint Township did the same this week. Several other cities could do the same by the state’s deadline next week.