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Posted: 03/19/14

Bruce to hold liquor
license hearing

Observer Staff Writer
      Bruce officials are looking to reclaim unused liquor licenses as a step toward drawing more traffic to the community.
       The Board of Trustees will provide a chance today, March 19, for two restaurants to make their cases for holding onto the township's last two liquor licenses.
       The board issued the final Class C liquor licenses in January 2012, one to Times Square Restaurant and the other to Legends Roadhouse. Legends has since closed, while Times Square has not utilized its license.
       A Class C license permits the selling of beer, wine, mixed spirit drinks and spirits for consumption on premises.
       Clerk Susan Brockmann said state law permits the township to ask for the licenses back, but the applicants must be given a chance to speak with the board.
       "It's not a public hearing, but it must be done at a public meeting," she said.
       Liquor licenses can be sold by their owners, and can be sold to areas outside of their original borders. This occurred in Bruce Township when the Pepper's restaurant in Fiddler's Cove plaza sold its license to a Clinton Township business.
       "We want to keep what we have here in the township," Brockmann said. "I'm not saying that is the intent of the current applicants, but that is what the public hearing is for, to find out what the intent is."
       Brockmann said the licenses are the last two the township could give, and not having them prevents future restaurants from coming to the area. Local ordinance adopted in 1981 requires an establishment to be an "eating or dining" operation with a minimum seating of 100 to receive a Class C license.
       Supervisor Richard Cory said there are interested parties that want to bring in a restaurant, but the business is contingent on receiving a liquor license.
       "It'd be nice to have those licenses put into use and have more people coming to Bruce Township," he said.
       George Gojcaj, Times Square owner, believed it wasn't right that the township is trying to take its liquor licenses back to give to a restaurant that could otherwise buy a license from elsewhere.
       "They want to backdoor me when they made me wait almost two years to get mine, and now they want to take it away again," he said.
       He said a lack of funding has prevented him from remodeling his restaurant to implement his license, but plans to start up liquor sales this spring.
       "We're all blue-collar workers here, everybody is feeling the same effects from the economy, we've got to make due with what we have," he said. "I've been here for going on five years and plan on staying here."
       The number of licenses a community can provide is based on its population, with an increase of 1,500 needed to receive each additional license.

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