The Leighton Township Board Thursday evening gave a 2-1 advisory vote in favor of a request from Rod Brush, owner of the Green Lake One Stop convenience store, to remove restrictions for selling beer and wine from 8 a.m. to noon Sundays and spirits at any time Sunday.
The vote was only advisory because the two board trustees, John Hooker and Brian Bonnema, were absent, so a majority of the full board did not approve it. Supervisor Steve Deer and Clerk Mary Lou Niewenhuis voted to remove the long-standing restrictions, but Treasurer Char Troost dissented. Therefore, a written resolution will be presented at the board’s September meeting for another vote.
“I’m not in favor of it because I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Troost explained. “I’d like to see the status quo.”
Deer voted to remove the restrictions because Brush produced a petition with 130 signatures of local people supporting the sales and because state law now permits Sunday liquor, beer and wine sales except where expressly prohibited.
Nieuwenhuis noted similar requests from 25 and 30 years ago “were turned down, but we live in a different township today… We can still vote on this with the resolution in place next month.”
Brush and township officials had discussions several years ago when Blue Laws were more strict locally. The board at that time allowed him to sell beer and wine Sunday afternoons and evenings, but not mornings.
Brush told the board, “We’ve had a lot of customers ask for it. We operate in a resort area… All I’m asking for is what the state allows (7 a.m. to noon for beer and wine).”
He told the board he needs expanded Sunday hours for selling alcohol because years go he out of the gas sales business and now depends much more on sales of convenience items and alcohol. He estimated that about 50% of his alcohol sales occur on weekends. He said that if he doesn’t offer it, customers will go elsewhere, like in Wayland, Caledonia, Byron Center.
The board took comments for and against the request at last month’s meeting.