By: Emily Guiles
On May 27th Muskegon Heights City Council conducted three hearings, the subject of which are three businesses. Two of which are the Chicken Coop and Shell Mart.
All businesses were trying to petition and waiver the public ordinance that these businesses were put under.
The first up to argue their case was Shellmart, who were represented by, Attorney Tom Andrews. Andrews argued that Shellmart should have a waiver because prior to the ordinance it had been open 24 hours for 20 years. Andrews claimed that since they have been open there have been no incidents or violence at the location. The argument was also made that Shellmart is losing a couple thousand dollars a night, and that is money that goes to pay bills.
However, representative for the police station countered Andrews’ statement, there have been several incidents with large groups fighting in the parking lot, and unsavory behavior.
Councilman Jenkins was more concerned that Shellmart needed to be willing to work with the council and the police department to solve the issue of violence in that area, “everyone needs to help, and come together.” This thought was shared with councilman Mcdonald, who said, “Businesses and police department need to work together.”
Police Chief Gill made a recommendation to deny the waiver and the council agreed.
Next to argue their case was the Chicken Coop, who was willing to work with police to help solve the problem of violence in his area. Before the hearing the owner admitted to trying to find some type of security for his establishment to help control the unruly crowds, but to no avail.
Chicken Coop owner then suggested a 90 day trial where they are allowed to stay open until midnight every night except Friday and Saturday where they will stay open until two AM, prior they had stayed open until three AM. Closing at two AM should help the Chicken Coop avoid the rowdy bar crowd that are the largest problem. The owner will also light the back and side of the Chicken Coop in order to try and stop people from partaking in unsavory and illegal activity there, and if need be he will cordon off the section of his parking lot that has had the worst trouble.
The council passed a motion to give the Chicken Coop their 90 day trial with a follow up from the police station after that period in order to determine if this will be enough to solve the issue.