Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer
Over the past few months, a number of City staff have been inspecting over 50 establishments that sell alcohol in our town. Among these are party stores, drug stores, restaurants, bars, national department/grocery stores, fraternal organizations, big box discount stores, and at least one gas station. To say the least, it’s a pretty involved process.
Why do this? Good question.
The ability to obtain and maintain a liquor license in the State of Michigan is a privilege granted by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). This agency has controlled all alcoholic beverage traffic within the State since the end of Prohibition.
In assistance to the MLCC, City staff work cooperatively with Auburn Hills’ businesses with liquor licenses to ensure that they are caught up with their inspections, taxes, and other legal obligations annually. If issues or violations are found at a business – and not resolved in a timely manner – then the City Council would report the problem to the MLCC. Such action could lead to the business potentially losing its liquor license with the State.
Who conducts these inspections? Well, it all comes down to the concerns and expertise of the individual City entities:
- Officers from the Police Department review each license and check all the locales for any violations of the State Liquor Control Commission’s laws. Throughout the year they perform bi-annual stings involving underage decoys and conduct random LCC checks, particularly when a special event or other activity would draw a larger than normal crowd.
- Inspectors from the Fire Department look for violations of the Fire Code dealing with such items as sprinklers, emergency exits, kitchen equipment, and extinguishers. Since they deal with fire safety, their inspections are quite rigorous and any violations must be repaired immediately or City approval of the license will be withheld.
- Various inspectors from the Community Development Department check each location for violations of the Code of Ordinances and the Building Code. Common violations include disrepair relating to the parking lots, outside dumpsters, stairs and rails, interior and exterior paint, landscaping, and interior and exterior lighting at the business.
With this oversight and City Council review, citizens can be assured that liquor establishments in the City of Auburn Hills are legal, safe, and in good condition.
I think we can all drink to that.