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City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Agreement reached with store

Brandy's Liquor Shoppe, located on Michigan Avenue and Summit Street, will stay open as an agreement has been reached with the city. The store will have to maintain private security and limit hours among other stipulations. Photo by Dan DuChene

Brandy's Liquor Shoppe, located on Michigan Avenue and Summit Street, will stay open as an agreement has been reached with the city. The store will have to maintain private security and limit hours among other stipulations.
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Brandy's will stay open with required stipulations

By Dan DuChene
Mar. 13, 2009    ·    9:18 a.m.

After four months, the city has reached an agreement with a local party store that will allow the store to stay open for business.

The agreement, reached as both the city and the owners of Brandy’s Liquor Shoppe were headed to court March 5, sets specific requirements the store must meet over a two year period.

The store, located on the north side of Michigan Avenue near Summit Street, will have limited hours, a security guard, video surveillance and membership in the Midtown Neighborhood Association.

The Ypsilanti Police Department had filed a nuisance abatement suit against the store in November that would have closed the store down and allowed the city to seize and sell all of the goods inside.

The suit alleged city police responded to more than 200 calls to Brandy’s since Jan. 2007. The next closest number is 77, made to Eagles Market on Ballard and Cross streets. The city alleges Brandy’s has become a hot bed for drugs, aggravated assault and other crimes.

The Hannas, the family that owns the store, said they were being unfairly targeted by the police when the problems at Brandy’s are a general problem all over the city.

Shortly after the suit was filed, a group of 20 people who shop at the store and supported the Hannas spoke in front of City Council to try and have the action stopped. At the meeting Council voted unanimously to put a stay on the case for 60 days so further discussions of an agreement between staff and the store could be reached.

The following month, several members of the Midtown Neighborhood Association spoke in front of Council to protest the decision. They complained of crime stemming from the store and did not agree with slowing down the process.

Assistant City Attorney Karl Barr said the stipulation requiring the store maintain membership in the neighborhood association was the most important part of the agreement in his opinion.

“Once we open the dialogue the two sides can move in the same direction and communicate quicker and more directly,” Barr said after the agreement had been reached.

“It’s a neighborhood store,” Barr said. “This resolves the issue at a neighborhood level instead of enforcement by the city.”

Barr said the city and the Hannas had many of the same goals during negotiation. He said city doesn’t want a vacant business and the Hannas do want to run their business without any problems.

A security guard will be posted at the store during weekends starting in April through to the end of summer, and next summer. The store, which used to close at 2 a.m. every day, will close at 12 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 1:30 a.m. Thursdays and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Video surveillance must be continued at the store, and the police department is allowed to have access to the footage.

Brian Hanna, one of the store’s owners, said, “It’s O.K.”

Hanna said the agreement is still unfair, as it causes him to loose money by closing his store earlier and forces him to spend it on hiring a private security service.

“It’s better than going to court,” he said. “They were reasonable options.”

Hanna said he wasn’t sure what type of stipulations the judge would have ordered to avoid closing the business down, but they could have been harsher.

Membership in the neighborhood association was something Hanna agreed was important in moving forward.

“If we’re going to fix the problems, we’re going to have to fix them together,” Hanna said.

Other stipulations in the agreement prevent employees and customers from consuming alcohol at the store, prevent the store from selling drug paraphernalia and require staff to maintain a well-lit parking lot free of loitering.

Hanna said these are stipulations that don’t have much impact, as most are required by law.

Related stories:
Talks continue as city nuisance suit goes to court
City revisits liquor store case
Heated meeting about local business' future

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