On the evening of Friday, September 2nd, the Ludington Bay Brewing Company (LBBC) had live entertainment from 6 to 9 pm, appropriately called the Downtowners:

LBBC's Facebook page shows that three hours of live entertainment on Friday nights has been a staple at the business since at least 2017, with mostly local musicians playing their best between the hours of 7 to 10 PM in the taproom.  When the pandemic hysteria hit in 2020, this practice was paused until the summer, when live acts were brought back, but moved to the outdoor patio, extending sometimes into the loading dock area, the parking lot, and even Melendy Street.  The performances were moved back an hour, perhaps in some deference to the neighborhood.

The scene above, from 2021, shows that the LBBC would block Melendy on the west side at James Street and on the east side which offered ingress/egress to their back parking lot via westbound traffic on Melendy from George Street.  This doesn't present too much of a problem for those living on that block, since there are no driveways along it and roadside parking is forbidden by signage, but can present a problem for those who normally use that street to go downtown or other points west, of who this author is one.

The Downtowner concert appeared to go over well for the assembled masses on Friday evening.  The standing room only crowd in the street could surely hear clearly the amplified music which was more than audible from about three blocks away from the venue.  Those arriving on the SS Badger this evening certainly heard the tunes playing. 


Three days later, we see that the barricades they used for the street closure was supplied by the City of Ludington, the DPW specifically.  LBBC staff appear to have broken the barricades down and placed them on the corner of James Street...

... and the corner of George Street so that the DPW can pick them up on the day after Labor Day.  

Now, I don't want to be considered a killjoy, but LBBC appears to not be as community-minded as they said they would be when they moved into this neighborhood that consists of many residential uses, including having homes bordering directly to the east and to the south of their commercial property.  Blocking a street and blaring music that can be heard three football fields away is asking a lot of your neighbors and our laws recognize that as the case.  The city code recognizes this in section 34-103 quite plainly:

Section 46-32 reiterates this and notes that some temporary obstructions are permitted (music appreciation is not one).  This follows along the same lines of state law which prohibits any unauthorized person from blocking a street with barricades:

Authorization for blocking a city street can only be granted by the local authority that has that power, the Ludington City Council.  As someone who has thoroughly recapped each regular city council meeting since LBBC has came into existence, I have witnessed them vote to close down streets temporarily for special events often.  And yet, they have never voted to close the 100 block of East Melendy Street so that the Ludington Bay Brewery can benefit at the expense of others in the community who expect their streets to be usable and their peace at home to be unbroken. 

I have brought to the council's attention at the last meeting that neighboring business owner, Joe Oquist, was thrown in jail and charged with a crime of disorderly conduct simply for playing his music loud one Friday night to block the loud music coming from across the street from his residence (at LBBC).  Oquist phoned in the noise complaint but was told by the responding officer that:  " "It doesn't matter.  The city lets them put [amplified music] there.  You can't blast music, that's a 'disorderly'... you gotta let [LBBC's amplified music] happen... the city allows them to do it."

The City has not officially authorized or allowed the amplified music, nor the road blockades, for Ludington Bay in the years they have routinely broken laws regarding disturbing the peace and obstructing streets without authority.  Yet they have not suffered even one civil infraction, in fact they appear to get free use of the DPW for dropping off the blockades used to carry on their outdoor concerts, and free passes from the LPD.  Is this fair?

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LBB should have stepped in and prevented Joe's prosecution. I have no respect for how LBB treats their neighbors. I also have  no respect for how Ludignton officials treat the citizenry. I searched and searched but could find no Ludington Bay anywhere on any map, old or new. But I did find an old picture of Father Marquette discussing the Lake with the Indians.

Willy, fyi it's Ludington Bay Brewery, where the old Lions grocery store was, now a new bldg.& business. I don't think Joe should have been prosecuted either, but he was a bit too uncooperative in this case. Instead of fighting with LPD, he should have met with LBB owners and mgrs. to get some relief and sort this all out calmly. There's a time to get roudy, and this fell short of that, and he suffered the consequences, unnecessarily.

I guess I was not very clear in my post. I know it's Ludington Bay Brewery.  But since there is no actual Ludington Bay on planet Earth, I tried to make a joke about the origin of the name Ludington Bay and about  how imaginary Indians may have told Father Marquette that they had changed their minds and decided to name the large body of water, Ludington Bay instead of Pere Marquette Lake. I was just trying to be funny about how LBB came up with the name of an imaginary place that doesn't exist.    

It could be that Joe didn't react as LBB and the authorities demanded but how is it possible that loud music is acceptable on one side of a street while on the other side people go to jail for doing the same thing. Joe has done his  penance so it's time for LBB to acknowledge their contribution to this situation. I bet the owners of LBB wouldn't put up with loud music from their neighbors at their homes.

I must offer a retraction of sorts due to information I received through a FOIA request.  At the June 13, 2022 council meeting a vote was taken to approve a "Disc Golf Social" to be held at Ludington Bay on September 2, at that two hour meeting's 1:30:00 mark they quietly approved the event, and when one looks through the packet for that meeting, it does show an application that notes Melendy Street will be closed off, a fact not noted at the meeting.

The absence of people disc golfing at the event I saw made me not associate this event with that, but LBBC was more of a social gathering for golfers after they did their thing, which explains the loud music and the need for more space for thirsty diskers.  Ironically, in my recap of the meeting, the Ludington Torch was the only news source at the time and since that noted the 100 block of E Melendy Street would be closed for the disc golf social. 

So, we were wrong in reporting that the City failed to approve this street closure in advance, but one wonders why Third Ward Councilor Les Johnson, living in the 100 block of W Melendy Street, or any other councilor, didn't bring that fact up at the meeting as a point to consider.

I see the 500 block of south James st will be closed down for a block party on Friday after noon / evening . Did the Brewery get permission to shut down Business hywy 10? to have another party????

They did, that closure is part of the Octoberfest celebration, and it was approved by city council earlier this summer and reportedly approved by the state's DOT.  Once again it's going to get loud in that residential interface.


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