There’s a fine line between being a town with a craft, artisanal, winery-laden and brewery-brimming culture — and one with a drinking problem.
We agree with city commissioners that the downtown drunken hordes, spewing profanities — and otherwise — into the night, aren’t good for Traverse City.
We also understand that commissioners — armed with a somewhat toothless standard when it comes to rejecting a liquor license — want to use the tools they got while they assemble some more.
But we side with the majority 4-3 vote on an outright six-month moratorium for several reasons:
n We believe in punishing the bad — not those who aren’t causing problems. Sweeping rules can turn good ideas away, and generally good people, off. We prefer turning the microscope on problem areas and investigating drinking establishments for improper practices like overserving customers.
n We agree with building capacity in this respect; another downtown police officer is a good start, and we’ll watch to see the impacts after the officer punches in on July 1. We also agree with adding more teeth to the licencing process. We suggest making renewals more frequent, as problem bars can change, owners change and trends change.
The state requires renewal of retail, wholesale, microbrewery licenses; we don’t know how close a look businesses get, but someone collects the fees.
n It wouldn’t be fair to ignore the city’s role in adding to the retinue of alcohol-based events, from hot cocoa crawls to the more raucous holiday shopping nights. We don’t have a problem with these, but it should be noted.
We know we’re a good time town. The vast number of breweries, wineries and distilleries are a part of our Pure Michigan attraction, and, as far as our other pursuits?
Kayaking, biking, yoga, movies, shopping, book clubs — with brew, wine or craft cocktail.
— A proposed 6-month ban on new liquor licenses narrowly failed a city council vote on Monday.
— We like that commissioners are tackling the problem of public drunkenness, but a ban is too broad.