Digging into code

Nope, not computer code… city code. I’m working on a side project for a friend of mine, who is planning a business venture in the future. Since I’m a bit of a government geek, I offered to put together a report of the various municipality codes that could affect where he places his business. Last night I spent a few hours going through a bunch of them, and there it was fascinating to see what makes it into many city codes.

One of the more interesting aspects was seeing remnants of bygone days still enshrined in law. In particular I found many different city codes relating to bowling alleys, which had their heyday many decades ago. There were special codes to allow them on-sale liquor, and special exemptions given for open hours and admittance of minors. These were provisions that were put into existing code to address a specific business need that was growing at the time.

Today we don’t think much about the significance of something like a bowling alley, but when they were in their heyday it must have been quite a scene for cities to realize that they had to come up with special codes and ordinances to manage a new type of business. The business that my friend is developing is also a somewhat new type of business, and based on his goals it might mean re-writing a few city codes to accommodate his needs as well.

Not sure why I find this all interesting, but the way that cities lay out their laws is fascinating. I’ve been having fun digging into it and occasionally seeing bits of history and culture show up in official code. Who knows, maybe I should have become a lawyer!

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