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Liquor Commission Makes Changes To The Liquor License Application Process

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Ronald D. Richards Jr.
Foster Swift Municipal Law News
September 2012

Effective July 1, 2012, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) changed its procedure for submitting applications to the Commission and obtaining approvals for certain licenses.

Applications for New Licenses

Approvals from local units of government are required, but now only for a new license. The Commission will continue to review all comments received taking into consideration the opinions of the local residents, the local legislative body, and the local law enforcement agency as to the proposed business. The Commission will provide notice to the local legislative body of a pending application.

For new license applications, the first step is to submit the license application to the Commission, along with any license, permit, and inspection fees. The MLCC will conduct an initial review of the application; notify the applicant of deficient items; and provide the applicant with the appropriate local and police forms, including blank fingerprint cards, where applicable.

But then, and this is the new part, the applicant is then responsible for directly submitting its request for local approval to the local unit of government. The Commission will not proceed with the licensing process or consider an application until that local approval request has been made and received.

An application for a new license still requires approval of the local legislative body. The application will not be considered complete until that approval is received.

Applications for Transfer of Ownership, Transfer of Interest, or Transfer of Location of Existing Licenses

An application for transfer of ownership of an existing license, transfer of an interest in an existing license, or transfer of location of an existing license does not require approval of the local unit of government.


Applications for dance permits, entertainment permits, dance-entertainment permits, topless activity permits, and extended hours permits require approval from both the local unit of government and local law enforcement agency, in addition to the Commission.

Given the above, municipalities may consider being more pro-active to keep apprised of whether any liquor licenses have been transferred in their boundaries – such as reviewing the MLCC’s web site for transfer reports. Of course, if the transfer involves renovating a building, the municipality may still monitor the transfer through its permit authority. Municipalities may also consider revising their ordinances or procedures to comply with this new change in the liquor license transfer approval process.

Source: MLCC Bulletin No. 2012-12 dated June 21, 2012, regarding Local Approvals for Licensing Application Process.

If you have questions about liquor license matters, or the local approval process for a liquor license application, please contact Anne Seurynck (616.726.2240) of the Foster Swift Municipal Practice Group.