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Brighton City Council Discusses Possible Quota Liquor License Policy

Council will make a decision during its next meeting Jan. 17.

After some discussion during Thursday night's meeting, Brighton City Council members will have city attorneys review a possible resolution to establish criteria for council to use while deciding how to award Class C Quota Liquor Licenses.

The quota liquor license is new to the city this year due to an increase in population based on most recent census data.

The quota liquor license costs only $600 annually and is transferable as opposed to a redevelopment liquor license, which costs $20,000 and cannot be transferred.

There is some competition among Brighton businesses for the new liquor license. Two Brothers Coffee owner Jim Starnes had originally requested a redevelopment license, but later dropped his application, applying instead for the quota license.

In addition, Stan Schafer, owner of Scotty Simpson's, has also applied for the license after city council approved the transfer of Shafer's liquor license at Scotty Simpson's to Stonefire Bistro at its December meeting—which is now under review by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). Stonefire lost its liquor license last month due to a dispute with the former owner.

Because council could not choose one business over the other, City Manager Dana Foster put out notices stating the license was available and asking for proposals to be considered along with the other two businesses. City staff has not received any additional proposals as of Thursday's meeting.

Foster said the proposed resolution to establish criteria is important because ultimately city council will have to make a decision on whom to give the license to and choose one business over the other.

Council member Claudia Roblee said council members should use the new license as an opportunity to draw some investment into the city.

"I think in order for someone to get this Class C License, a substantial investment needs to be made to the city," Roblee said. "I think we need to use this as a carrot to bring in substantial investment. I think using this as a tool is in the best interest of the city and residents. I think this policy is a good starting point and it's a good way to go. I think we just have to hold out on this until we get what we want and what is in the best interest of the community."

The City of Brighton has a reputation being business friendly partly because of staff members actively assisting businesses to gain redevelopment liquor licenses. Brighton is second in the state, surpassed only by Grand Rapids, for redevelopment liquor licenses, according to DDA Director Matt Modrack.

Brighton Mayor Jim Muzzin said he would vote against the resolution when it comes to vote because he is afraid that dragging out the quota license too long will push out businesses to other communities.

The city also cannot grant any new redevelopment liquor licenses until the quota liquor license is awarded, according to Muzzin.

Brighton City Council will decide whether or not to adopt the proposed resolution as well as possibly award the quota liquor license at its next meeting on Jan. 17.

J. Michael Lenninger January 04, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Some history here. If you remember the Partridge Inn, they had applied for a "quota" license back in the '80s and were assured that they were next in line to receive it. Instead, it went to another establishment. Maybe the council at the time thought a breakfast/luncheon place would not utilize it as much as a restaurant/bar? By "substantial investment...to the city" does that mean tax revenue, enhancements to building/facade or a promise to re-develop existing space?

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