Rapid City council tables hookah regulations

Hookah Bar

The Rapid City council examined on December 3 a proposed hookah ordinance that would enforce tight regulations on Rapid City’s two hookah lounges.

Aldermen made no responses on the ordinance. Ward 4 Alderwoman Amanda Scott made the action to table and did not clarify why. A motion to table does not permit for debate.

Representatives from Ifrits Hookah Lounge appeared at the meeting, ready to battle the ordinance, but did not say when they identified the motion was to be tabled.

“I’d like to delay our comments,” Stephen Wesolick, the attorney representing Ifrits, explained to the council.

At a Legal & Finance Committee meeting last week, Wesolick had said that the city was trying to close his client’s business with the new restrictions. That committee had suggested authorizing the license.

Police Chief Steve Allender has openly backed the ordinance, stating the city must control this type of business.

A wine license for Ifrits was also up for renewal on December 3. Ifrits said ahead of the meeting it was going to take away its application for the license, which the council in any other case would likely have refused.

A refused license would not have permitted Ifrits to reapply for another license for a year.

At the moment, the city and Ifrits are waiting for the resolution of a legal action that will decide whether hookah lounges get under the statewide smoking ban. If they do, the lounges won’t be able to sell alcohol anyway. If they don’t, the lounges could continue selling alcohol.

Ifrits was formerly rejected renewal of a beer license.

In other business, the council completed a new deer management program. Ward 4 Alderwoman Amanda Scott stated concern that some citizens in her ward would not be able to get deer carcasses they had earlier been able to acquire. In the modified strategy, the carcasses are donated to area food banks, with South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunger paying for the cost of processing.

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Clayton guaranteed her those citizens could contact Sportsmen Against Hunger to get on a list to get the deer meat. He said the venison was ground into hamburger, which uses more of the meat than steaks.

Scott also asked what would occur to the meat if Sportsmen Against Hunger could no longer pay to process the meat. Ward 5 Alderman Ron Sasso assured her that since the business processed more than 2,000 deer last year, it would be able to deal with 200 more.

The council also completed the culling of 200 deer this year.

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