Ypsilanti Citizen News Sidetrack

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

Talks continue as city nuisance suit goes to court

Cathy Hanna, her son Brian and husband Samir own Brandy's Liquor Shoppe on Michigan Avenue and Summit Street. The owners are talking with the city while defending against a nuisance suit. Photo by Dan DuChene

Cathy Hanna, her son Brian and husband Samir own Brandy's Liquor Shoppe on Michigan Avenue and Summit Street. The owners are talking with the city while defending against a nuisance suit.
Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

Only few points left for deal between city and local liquor store

By Dan DuChene
Feb. 25, 2009    ·    9:22 a.m.

The city’s suit against a local party store has gone back to court, nearly 100 days after it set a 60-day time window for negotiation.

Assistant City Attorney Karl Barr and Jim Washington, a Detroit-based attorney representing Brandy’s Liquor Shoppe, were in front of Judge Timothy Connors last week debating a nuisance complaint filed against the store by the Ypsilanti Police Department in Oct. 2008.

A show cause hearing was held Friday and an evidentiary hearing is scheduled for March 5. However, both sides are still negotiating and have limited discussions to a few key points.

If the city wins the nuisance abetment suit, a padlock order would be placed on the store, located at Michigan Avenue and Summit Street. Once the order is put into effect, the store could not be opened for a year and all of the goods inside the store would seized and sold, with the funds going to the city.

The suit alleges 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, maintain they are being unfairly targeted by the police when the problems at Brandy’s are a general problem all over the city.

“Brandy’s itself is not responsible,” Washington said. “We do not give any credibility to the city’s self serving statistics.”

Washington said the numbers the city reports are misleading due to over-enforcement by the police at Brandy’s and including calls that do not have anything to do with the store, such as traffic accidents.

Police Chief Matt Harshberger said some of the calls reported are not due to criminal activity, but they pulled all the calls indiscriminately against all similar businesses. Thus, he maintains the data used to compare Brandy’s to other liquor stores in the city is similar.

At several different City Council meetings, groups of residents have come out to speak about Brandy’s. The store’s customers have come out to support the Hannas and members of the Midtown Neighborhood Association have spoken out against the store.

In November, City Council voted to allow a 60-day stay on the court proceedings to try and encourage a negotiation that would allow the store to remain open. Both sides said they have met and continue to negotiate with the new court date approaching.

“I don’t like to kill ants with hand grenades,” Barr said.

Barr said it is not in the city’s interests to have commercial property lying vacant and does not want to see a store that customers rely on disappear, but steps need to be taken to curb the problems the city has with the store.

It has been suggested a compromise could be reached by requiring certain actions from the store, anything from maintaining regular private security and video surveillance to reducing the store’s operating hours and limiting alcohol sales.

“It’s possible we could reach an agreement,” Washington said.

He said the negotiations at this point are just down to a few specific items, mostly the length of time any probationary action could be taken against the store. He said Brandy’s will be responding to an offer from the city by the end of this week.

See related stories:
Heated meeting about local business' future
City revisits liquor store case

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