Ann Arbor Opposes Dream Nite Liquor License

At its March 19, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council passed resolutions with recommendations concerning the renewal of annual liquor licenses for two downtown bars – Rush Street and Dream Nite Club.

For Rush Street the recommendation was for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to renew the license, because the bar had finally paid nearly $10,000 in back taxes.

But for Dream Nite Club, the recommendation approved by the city council was to object to the renewal of that bar’s license. The recommendation was consistent with the finding of hearing officer Tony Derezinski, a city councilmember representing Ward 2 who presided over a hearing earlier in the day on March 19. The hearing was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., and lasted until the early afternoon.

During the portion of the hearing observed by The Chronicle, at least a dozen different Ann Arbor police officers offered testimony, elicited by assistant city attorney Bob West, in support of the city’s contention that the establishment maintains a nuisance. The legal counsel for Dream Nite Club sharply questioned the officers about their reports and the conclusions they drew from what they’d witnessed. Objections by Dream Nite Club’s counsel, contending hearsay evidence or a lack of foundation, became routine during the hearing – to the point that on several occasions, a “standing objection” was made to subsequent testimony and introduction of evidence.

In the end, Derezinski concluded that the city of Ann Arbor had a basis to object to the renewal of Dream Nite Club’s liquor license. With its vote on the evening of March 19 the city council forwarded that recommendation to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. The license renewal will be decided by the MLCC.

The March 19 hearing had been set at the council’s March 5, 2012 meeting, when councilmembers had passed a resolution with an initial recommendation that liquor licenses for both businesses – Dream Nite Club and Rush Street – not be renewed this year. That initial vote was based on the recommendation of the city council’s liquor license review committee, which met on Feb. 23, 2012 to conclude its annual review of licenses in the city.

Initially, no one appeared on behalf of Rush Street at the March 19 hearing, but later, a representative did appear. Derezinski re-heard the matter and based on the report that the back taxes had been paid, which was verified by city treasurer Matt Horning, Derezinski made the recommendation that the council recommend renewal of Rush Street’s license to the MLCC.

[.jpg file of map showing liquor license locations in Washtenaw County] [link to dynamic map showing liquor license locations in Washtenaw County] Note: Maps include all liquor licensees, not just those with on-premise consumption.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]