Redevelopment Liquor License Bill Passes House

The Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 4257 (Denby, R-Fowlerville), a reintroduction from last session, today. This bill amends the Michigan liquor control code dealing with redevelopment liquor licenses. According to a recent determination by the Liquor Control Commission, only businesses in cities are eligible for redevelopment liquor licenses. This determination is counter to the last six years, where the Liquor Control Commission has allowed the redevelopment licenses in TIF districts to be for cities, villages, or townships. This bill is an attempt to rectify this issue and clarifies eligibility for the redevelopment liquor licenses in the development districts to cities, villages, and townships. We have heard from multiple villages worried about this because their redevelopment efforts are coming to a halt without being eligible for these redevelopment licenses.

Towards the end of session last year this bill became an issue because the Restaurant Association and the Licensed Beverage Association wanted an amendment that expanded the search for a quota license to the entire county instead of only the municipality prior to seeking a redevelopment license, a problem from the League’s perspective because there are so many different cost inconsistencies from one area of the county to another. It passed out of the House last session without the amendment but there was a commitment by the chair of the senate committee it was in to add that amendment on. However, it died in that committee at the end of session.

Rep. Denby is committed to doing this for the communities who have been using this as a redevelopment tool but will now not be able to do so unless this is changed. Knowing what happened last session and that it would be the same fight this session, she and her staff tried to work a solution that would work for both municipalities and the industry. The substitute version states the countywide search is only necessary in the areas where the license fair market value is the same as the municipality where the establishment is located.

This bill now moves onto the Senate.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

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