Citing no major problems — and with only a little bit of drama — on Monday night, the Birmingham City Commission renewed the city's liquor licenses for 2013.
All liquor licenses are issued by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) and expire annually at the end of April unless renewed after inspections by city staff and police.
There are currently 31 businesses in Birmingham with a Class C liquor license and one establishment — the Townsend Hotel — operating with a Class B liquor license.
Condo residents ask for Townhouse hearing
The only issue raised Monday night was from a group of residents living at 180 Pierce St., specifically the condos above Townhouse, a bistro approved by the City Commission in 2011.
According to attorney Joel Harris, who represents the 180 Pierce Street Assocation, Townhouse has been illegally occupying 365 square feet of space since the restaurant opened in 2011. In addition, the bistro's sidewalk seating has long been a problem for the condos' residents, he said.
"The approval of the outside seating continues to provide an ongoing disturbance and nuisance," Harris told commissioners in his request that they schedule a special hearing to reconsider the renewal of Townhouse's liquor license.
A lawsuit between Townhouse and the residents who live upstairs is nothing new, city attorney Tim Currier said. The condo association tried to stop the restaurant from opening two years ago, though that first injunction was turned down by an Oakland County Circuit Court judge in September 2011.
The condo association was hoping for a trial last year, Harris said on Monday, however a trial date has been pushed off until this spring.
On Monday, however, Currier advised city commissioners to renew the liquor license pending a decision from the Oakland County Circuit Court.
"When the court makes a ruling, we'll make a decision," Currier said. "To do anything before would be premature." City commissioners unanimously voted to renew Townhouse's liquor license, making no comment on the issue.
Twelve businesses cited for problems in 2012, report says
The rest of Birmingham's restaurants, bistros and bars escaped the license renewal process relatively unscathed, however. According to a report from Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt:
Seven restaurants were cited for selling alcohol to a minor:
- Big Rock Chop House
- Cafe Via
- Dick O'Dow's
- Papa Joe's Gourmet Market (included in the study since they own a Birmingham bistro license)
- Townsend Hotel
Six establishments had assaultive behavior/disorderly conduct calls:
In addition, Dick O'Dow's was found to owe the city more than $3,000 in 2012 taxes, while Toast owed more than $62,000 in outstanding water and sewer bills. The city is currently working with both buinesses to get the bills paid.