(Mlive) The city of Kalamazoo made several changes to the city code this week including decriminalizing public urination or defecation and littering, despite opposition voiced from two business owners.
The two downtown business owners explained how public urination and defecation impacts their businesses, and questioned why the city would consider the change.
After the citizens shared their concerns, the city commission voted to decriminalize the offenses at their business meeting on Monday, July 18. The change reduces the offenses from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction, as part of a larger review of city codes.
Becky Bil, co-owner of Pop City Popcorn in downtown Kalamazoo, said there are aggressive and unstable panhandlers in the area and she is concerned about people avoiding downtown because of these issues.
She is frustrated with the lack of acknowledgement that businesses are struggling with the issue, she said.
Cherri Emery, owner of Cherri’s Chocol’art, said there is a major problem downtown.
“I don’t understand why it would be proposed that the law would be less restrictive than it is now,” Emery said.
Business owners are dealing with urinating and defecating around their businesses on a daily basis, she said
“I don’t understand why we would make it easier for them,” Emery said.
Both businesses are located on the Kalamazoo Mall.