Clinton Township board approves liquor license resolution

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 20, 2014

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — At its Aug. 25 board meeting, the Clinton Township Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution opposing procedures conducted by the Liquor Control Commission.

The official motion language supported the opposition of procedures by the commission, as well as the distribution of the resolution to all local communities in Macomb County, to state legislature in Lansing and to the Liquor Control Commission itself.

The resolution, which was initially introduced at the Aug. 11 board meeting but was held off on voting due to language, was revised by Township Attorney Jack Dolan.

Minutia included in the resolution pertained to the opposition of existing procedures for issuance and transfer of dance, entertainment and topless activity permits and transfer of the Class ‘C’ license, brew pub licensing tavern licensing and gas pumps.

And, while the resolution is technically not a legislative matter, the township board’s goal remains to possess better oversight on the local level. The commission consists of five members, including one (Dennis Olshove) who represented Macomb County as a senator.

“As a result (of new procedures) it took away local control and oversight over the local municipalities to determine approval for liquor licenses in our community,” Clerk Kim Meltzer said at the meeting. “This doesn’t mean we can’t implement our own control, but what makes it difficult is that the timing of it and the inability for us to necessarily get the proper information so we can form an investigation and determine if there will be a negative impact if we award a liquor license.”

Meltzer added that Clinton Township is not the only community that is against such recent provisions. Township Treasurer Bill Sowerby added that many places are grappling with the issue in terms of wanting their roles to be of the local orientation, and when people in Lansing are presiding over it, the result can be a compromising one.

Sowerby said more specifically that the township’s experience and direct contact with concerned residents and businesses, along with the ability to be able to personally identify the needs of particular establishments where liquor license are held, is a prominent part of this resolution. When extenuating circumstances are taken out of the hands of the community and placed solely in the hands of a remote body in Lansing, viewpoints can easily become skewed.

“The local community (best) knows the needs of its businesses as they relate with neighborhoods, and that when it comes to liquor licenses and the establishments that obtain them, we have seen over the years countless times that we have many, many business owners who have liquor licenses who are very responsible and take that responsibility very seriously,” Sowerby said. “We’ve also experienced other establishments that have had problems relating to neighboring business or adjoining neighborhoods.

“We need to seize this back and take this resolution and pass it to our neighboring communities.”

Board Supervisor Bob Cannon was in full agreement with the resolution, which was a combined effort on the parts of Meltzer and Sowerby to raise awareness of the importance of liquor licenses and the perils that occur when they are not properly enforced.