City Commission Renews All of Birmingham's Liquor Licenses
Despite concerns raised by the Pierce Street Condo Association about Townhouse, the commission renews all Class B and Class C liquor licenses.
Avoiding the dramatic special hearings from last year, the Birmingham City Commission voted to renew all Class B and Class C liquor licenses for the 2012 licensing period.
All liquor licenses issued by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) expire annually on April 30 unless renewed after inspections by city staff and the police.
There are 27 establishments in Birmingham with a Class C liquor license and one establishment — the Townsend Hotel — with a Class B license. Class B licenses are for hotels.
While Papa Joe's objection was raised over unfinished construction, commissioners were particularly concerned with the number of police incidents at South and the Hamilton Room in 2010.
After three hours of debate, commissioners eventually renewed the licenses and according to Commissioner Stuart Sherman, that ended up being a wise decision.
"Both (South and the Hamilton Room) have made great strides in improving their situations," Sherman said Monday night, noting both businesses have been accommodating and attentive to commission concerns.
"We are very fortunate to have the license holders we do in this city," Sherman added.
In total, the Birmingham Police Department reported:
- Five establishments were cited for MLCC violations, all of which involved selling alcohol to a minors: Barrio, Fleming's Prime Steak House, Forest Grill, Luxe Bar & Grill and Toast.
- Four establishments had police intervene because of assaults or disorderly conduct: Cafe Via, Chen Chow, the Hamilton Room and South.
- Two establishments were in violation with the city Planning Department — 220 and Papa Joe's — though both issues plan to be resolved by spring, assistant city manager Joe Valentine said.
The only objection raised during the meeting was by representatives from the homeowners association for the five condos located just above the newly opened Townhouse at the corner of Pierce and Martin.
By serving alcohol outside on the sidewalk, a condo association representative said Townhouse is acting in the "common element" shared with the condo owners and are operating outside of Michigan law.
City attorney Tim Currier said there is a lawsuit pending between the condo association and Townhouse — the association tried to stop the restaurant from opening, though that injunction was turned down by a circuit court judge and the bistro opened in early September 2011. A new trial, Currier said, is set for May.
Currier advised the commission not to take any action on the objection until it had gone through the courts. Taking his advice, all seven members of the Birmingham City Commission voted to approve the liquor license renewal.