Magic Bus in jeopardy under possible regulations on Melrose Avenue

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 30, 2011 7:20 AM

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A new city ordinance regulating vendors on Melrose Avenue on game days may leave the Magic Bus homeless again come fall.

Under the new ordinance, which passed its first vote June 21, the sale of alcohol by vendors would be banned and the area in which they would be allowed to set up shop would be limited.

Previously, vendors have been operating without a permit, which is illegal.

Managers say the Magic Bus has never sold alcohol — instead, it provided alcohol and soda to customers who paid a cover to watch bands. The new ordinance would prevent it from doing that on Melrose.

Doug Boothroy, the city’s director of Housing and Inspection Services, said representatives from the Magic Bus, organized by the Iowa City Ducks Rugby Club, approached him and the Planning and Zoning Commission to obtain an exemption to the ordinance, which they denied.

“Trying to write an exception for the Magic Bus to sell alcohol opens the door for anyone to sell alcohol,” Boothroy said. “And that’s not something the city wants to open up along Melrose Avenue.”

The Magic Bus has since been asked to write up a proposal for the commission, but the Magic Bus had not submitted any specific ideas as of Wednesday afternoon.

Noah Silvey, a member of the Rugby Club and organizer of the Magic Bus, declined to provide further comment.

-By Hayley Bruce

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