Macomb Township’s Board of Trustees recently sought to ease some of the financial hardships of COVID-19 related restrictions on local businesses, approving revision of a temporary outdoor dining area application for greater business inclusivity.
The board met virtually Sept. 23 to hear a presentation regarding revising the temporary outdoor dining area application from Planning Director Josh Bocks. Bocks said that several local restaurants have utilized the opportunities presented in the application.
“We now have businesses other than restaurants seeking similar relief from the numerous and rigorous requirements imposed by the governor that are starting to become financially burdensome,” he said.
“For example, we have been approached by a few medical facilities that would like to set up tent drive-up testing for COVID. This would allow the facilities to keep potentially affected patients away from those who are seeking routine office visits. And by modifying the existing application to accommodate other businesses we can speed up the approval process for all business types.”
Bocks said the original application was set to expire in October.
“Given the continued uncertainty of the current situation, we would ask that these potential outdoor facilities be allowed to conduct business in this manner until April 1 or until the board feels that the special outdoor facilities are no longer needed,” Bocks said.
Trustee Kathy Smith made the motion to revise the application for temporary outdoor dining areas, which was seconded by Trustee Nancy Nevers and carried unanimously by the board.
Board members in June authorized the planner and supervisor to develop a strategy for creating outdoor seating opportunities for local restaurants, in order to help the eateries cope with restrictions of COVID-19.
Township information originally indicated that starting on June 15 and ending Nov. 1, an approved establishment could have added or expanded outdoor seating unless occupancy and social distancing limits became rescinded. Township information related to the original application indicates hours of operation for the outdoor dining areas are restricted to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
As the intent was originally to permit restaurants to temporarily expand their dining areas, the outdoor areas must be operational in conjunction with an interior business of the same function and on the same property, according to original township documents. Businesses must possess a valid certificate of occupancy from the building department at the time of the application, and comply with all provisions of the most recent state executive orders.
Compliance with applicable fire department, state and county health department regulations and other applicable federal, state, county or local agency code regulations and requirements are also required. Original township information also indicates open flames, fire features, outdoor cooking and heaters are not permitted.
The application packet and full additional information can be found on the township’s website macomb-mi.gov under Planning and Zoning links. As of Sept. 24, the temporary outdoor dining areas application included a checklist of required information to be included with it, such as:
• A scaled layout plan of the premises, including any existing outdoor seating areas and the proposed expansion area.
• Location of and clearances to main access to any fire hydrants or fire department connections, water valves, sanitary sewer manholes, and storm sewer manholes or catch basins.
• Dimensioned access to means of egress and barrier free entrance routes, a 60-inch minimum.
• Locations and sizes of any temporary tent or canopy if applicable.
• Location and description of proposed seating tables and chairs, complying with barrier free requirements
• Locations and description of any fencing/barrier or seating area enclosures and egress
• Location of any relocated barrier free parking and location of any waste receptacles
• Location of any lighting that requires electrical connections
• Written approval from the landowner
• Restaurant or bar uses must comply with the requirements of the Macomb County Health Department
• An approved application for limited permanent outdoor service permission application from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission if applicable
According to the original application, applicants must submit the completed application including the checklist items and required documentation along with a $500 payment to the planning department. The department forwards applications to all applicable departments for review.
Applications go through an expedited review process. Written reviews are due to be returned within two business days of distribution. If an application is denied by the review departments, the planning department communicates the denial to the applicant, indicating deficiencies and if revised plans are required. Once ordinance compliant plans are received, the plans are forwarded to the planning director for approval or rejection.
The original application further indicates that after approval or denial from the planning director, the planning department communicates decisions to the applicant, and all applicable permits must be applied for from the building department. Upon approval of the final inspection by the building department, the bond release process is initiated, according to the original application.
Applications have been accepted via mail to the township hall, or in a night drop-off box at the back of the hall building. Macomb Township Hall is located at 54111 Broughton Road. Envelopes must state the project name and type of project as well the words Planning Department. A PDF of the completed application must also be sent via email to [email protected] along with a copy of the check and all plans, the original application indicates.
Also on Sept. 23, the township board:
• Made a correction with a new approved motion. On Sept. 9, the board approved a motion to authorize the supervisor to transfer accumulated SMART credits of $406,572 back to SMART for reimbursement to the Richmond Lenox EMS Ambulance Authority transportation services for township residents. The second portion of the motion authorized Dunn to enter into a 2021 contract with SMART for transportation services for residents. On Sept. 23, the board adopted new and corrected motions. The new motion authorized Dunn to transfer the accumulated SMART credits of $460,572 back to SMART for reimbursement to the Richmond Lenox EMS Ambulance Authority for transportation services for Macomb Township residents. The second portion of the corrected motion authorized Dunn to enter into a 2021 contract with SMART for transportation services for residents.
• Adopted a conflict of interest policy and an updated equal employment opportunity policy.
• Approved extending an offer of employment for a full-time election coordinator to Edward Carey III contingent upon a successful completion of post-offer pre-hire requirements, and an effective date of hire on or after Oct. 12.
• Approved a revised application fee schedule for the planning and zoning department