Subjective views – politics and opinions – certainly come into play as decision-makers weigh options. But consistent and fair lawmaking needs objectivity, too, and that only comes after considering hard facts and eliminating perspectives and moral arguments.

That’s why members of the Grand Forks City Council should OK the application of Northern Air Family Fun Center and allow beer and wine to be served as part of an expanded menu of entertainment offerings at the business.

Specifically, Northern Air wants to add recreational ax-throwing. This pastime essentially follows the idea of throwing darts, with an obvious difference in the required implement.

It’s especially popular with young adults. Young adults of legal age may enjoy a drink now and then.

So Northern Air has approached the City Council, seeking a license that would allow the sale of beer and wine. Some council members appear in favor; some do not. And as the decision looms next week, it appears the former have the advantage.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Northern Air should be granted permission. We understand the trepidation opponents have, since the business includes the word “family fun” in its name. However, it’s not the council’s role to judge the morals behind this decision but to instead enact laws and make decisions based on city rules, guidelines and precedent.

Importantly, Northern Air repeatedly has said it will keep the ax-throwing area (and thus the drinking area) separate from the rest of the business.

As the Herald reported earlier this week: “As the council discussed limiting alcohol service to one secluded part of the building, leaders appeared to ponder what it would mean to refuse or significantly amend the application. After all, if owners are meeting local codes, then why should the council stand in their way?”

Again for emphasis: If owners of Northern Air are meeting all local codes and prerequisites, then why should the council stand in their way?

Because of moral issues, personal beliefs or hope that denying this license will somehow change statewide societal trends?

For the record, we are not convinced children will head down any particular path because they are exposed to adults drinking in places like restaurants.

In 2018, the analysis website “24/7 Wall Street” judged North Dakota the drunkest state in the nation, based on data from the Center for Disease Control. South Dakota – with vastly looser standards on allowing children into drinking establishments, ability to purchase liquor in grocery stores and the like – ranks No. 14.

Is it confusing or off-putting to some that an establishment that has been centered on children, and includes the phrase “family fun” in its name, wants to serve beer? Maybe a little bit.

But if the owners see this as their best path forward, and if they meet the requirements and pass muster with city codes, the objective thing to do is to grant the license.

Then, consider all perspectives and opinions and reconsider the city’s codes and laws later – but not in reaction to a single business’ rightful request.