At its regular meeting on May 3, the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees gave local approval for a Class C liquor license and a new Specially Designated Merchant (SDM)[…]

At its regular meeting on May 3, the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees gave local approval for a Class C liquor license and a new Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) license to be granted to Cracker Barrel at 45525 N. I-94 Service Dr.
The approved township resolution now will be sent for final approval to the State Liquor Control Commission which has control over liquor licenses.
James Bellanca, III, attorney for CBOCS Properties, Inc., the owner and operator of the local Cracker Barrel since 1991, said the Class C quota liquor license would allow Cracker Barrel to offer its customers beer, wine, or a mixed drink along with their meal.
He said there are 216 seats and they would have no new bar, but serve drinks at the tables.
The SDM also will allow sales of alcohol in their original packages for consumption offsite.
The police chief and township attorney had no objections to the proposal.
“Our guests have been asking for a glass of wine, mimosa, or mixed drink,” Bellanca said.
Bellanca said the Van Buren Township Cracker Barrel is the top-performing Cracker Barrel location in the state and it will be the first in Michigan to get a liquor license, if approved. He said they have 600 Cracker Barrel locations across the country.
In other business at the one-hour-10-minute meeting on May 3, the board:
• Held a moment of silence in memory of Linda Traskos, who had worked for the Van Buren Township treasurer’s office and the DPW, as well as being a wait person at several local restaurants;
• Approved Deputy Treasurer Sean Bellingham as the alternate delegate to the South Huron Valley Utility Authority;
• Approved the selection of Rolar Construction Corp. for the Van Buren Park’s Pavilions #1 and #3 Replacement Project for $360,256.25. Each pavilion will have electricity and water. Rolar was low-bidder of three. The pavilions were rundown and unsafe and the construction of new pavilions will be from mid-October for November completion, said Elizabeth Renaud, director of public service;
• Approved the Iron Belle Trail Riggs Park Trailhead and Path Design, Engineering and Construction proposal from PEA Group for $48,500. McNamara said PEA even finds grant money for its work;
• Approved the purchase of the LEXPOL Policy program for the fire department at a cost of $21,285.25 to ensure the department policies are always up to date with local, state, and federal laws. This is a step in a five-year plan towards accreditation similar to the police department;
• Approved selection of Pyrotecnico as the contractor for the 2022 VBT Fireworks Show for $18,000 on Saturday, June 25, with a rain date of June 26. Costs for fireworks have gone up and the township received zero bids for a $10,000 show, the usual cost of the fireworks;
• Approved minor updates to the purchasing policy;
• Heard Clerk Leon Wright announce that new voter registration cards will be sent out to everyone at the end of May. He said some precincts had to be redrawn because they had more than the 3,000 maximum voters allowed. Also, Haggerty School precinct is closed and relocated to Edgemont Elementary School in the City of Belleville;
• Heard Supervisor Kevin McNamara announce that the senior department is in need of drivers for Meals on Wheels, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. If someone can spare a day or so to do this, they should call the senior department;
• Heard Director Renaud announce the Museum Visioning workshop that will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 1 at the Belleville Area District Library for residents of Belleville, Van Buren, and Sumpter. She also announced an online survey on the museum that is now on the township website. “We are keeping our neighbors in Belleville and Sumpter Township up on everything,” Supervisor McNamara said;
• Heard resident John Delaney say the people dealing with the museum don’t know about the community over the years like the late Kathy Horste and late Bob Doane did. He also asked about the retirements of Joanne Montgomery and Kathy Cline and if anything was done for them. McNamara said it was during COVID and they did something for Montgomery and Kline didn’t want anything;
• Heard resident Reg Ion say during public comment that he would like to see the Parks and Recreation Department work with the Van Buren Public School District on a community swim program using the high school pool, which was built with taxpayer money. He said when he worked for the school, he ran the pool and the public was able to use it. “We don’t need another pool, just access to the one we already have,” Ion said. He also asked about the snow fence on Ecorse Service Drive that was taken away, causing many problems, and spoke of taking better care of the I-94 and Belleville Road bridges, which had excesses of salt left on them last winter and the sand is still there with the salt in it eating away the cement. He said although calcium chloride is more expensive, it should be used to preserve the bridges instead of sodium chloride;
• Heard Sharon Hobson and Tanda Owens of Belle Pointe Estates say they are trying to put together a Spring Clean Fling on May 20, 21, and 22, to help the elderly in their community clean up their yards. She asked if there was any funding for trash bags and gloves at the township to help. Owens said they reached out to Waste Management for a special pickup. “We will see what we can do,” Supervisor McNamara said. “We’ll find a way to help you.” Clerk Wright said there is money left in his Community Outreach Program for gloves and stuff. They also asked for help with getting a survey of the land so they can build a bus stop for the children off the county right-of-way;
• Discussed the problem of trash being everywhere. McNamara said they are hiring staffing groups to clean along township roads because the court is not sending out work crews, as in the past, and are sentencing people instead to community service; and
• Heard Trustee Boynton share his concerns about the incident at the high school with a fire arm. “We need to have a plan put together to protect our kids,” he said. “It’s more important than building a community center, paving Haggerty Road, or the water department. Recently two kids made adult decisions.” He said they were afraid of the area they pass through to get to school, although they were comfortable at school. They were afraid from home to the school, he said. “What the answer is, I don’t know.” He said he spoke to the superintendent, high school principal and some on the board of education. He suggested a group get together with the school, law enforcement, and a Congressperson involved. “I’d like to see that happen. I’ll sit on it if I need to. We have to reverse what has been put into place.” If they are afraid of the area, they’ll bring a weapon to school and hide it outside the school, he said. “Lord only knows what trouble they will get into,” he said. Clerk Wright said he raised two boys and made a conscious decision not to have firearms in the home. He said parents shouldn’t give accessibility to firearms. McNamara said the board had asked him to work on this. He said they now have mental health first aid available and are working on a grant for a new resource officer. “We need to be talking about this as a community,” Trustee Reggie Miller said.

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