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Pizzariffic wins township's last liquor license



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September 01, 2010 - The crowd hesitated, then broke into a round of applause. Some cheered.

The Orion Township Board of Trustees voted 4-2 Monday to recommend approval of Pizzariffic owner Michael Becker's Class C Liquor License.

But it didn't come without a few tense moments as two other applicants who were also seeking the township's last available license came before the board.

The township, like other municipalities, is limited to a set number of licenses issued through the Liquor Control Commission's Population Quota System. Orion currently has 33 active licenses.

Representatives of Springhill Suites Hotel made a case based on money the chain's pumped into the community since the hotel arrived two years ago, but Trustee John Steimel said he hasn't been happy with the hotel's parent organization.

"There's a lot of things Dutton LLC has not done," he said. "Things that should have been done. It hasn't been a very pleasant relationship – what we have gotten we worked very hard for, and had to put a lot of time and effort to get what was promised in the first place. We've been grossly disappointed."

Trustee Neal Porter and Supervisor Matthew Gibb had similar comments.

Larry Mullins of LRM Associates was also seeking the license, and submitted his application less than a week prior to Monday's meeting.

Mullins, who acknowledged he hasn't yet submitted site plans, broken ground or contracted with a restaurant group, told the board he wanted to get the rezoning of several parcels near Baldwin Road and Maybee under his belt before moving forward with the project.

He did, however, hope to secure the license while it was available.

Theresa Becker told the board she was certain they would not hold up the process if the situation were reversed and her son submitted a last minute application while Mullins waited on approval.

About a dozen people spoke on Michael Becker's behalf, and his attorney, Christy Pudyk, argued point after point.

In the end, Trustees John Steimel and Neal Porter voted for approval along with Clerk Penny Shults and Treasurer Alice Young. Trustee JoAnn Van Tassel voted a resounding "no" into the microphone, and Supervisor Matthew Gibb echoed her sentiment, although noting his vote was "on principle." Trustee Mark Crane was absent.

As he left the meeting, Becker breathed an audible sigh of relief.

"I had a deep feeling in my heart the township would see things my way," he said, expressing gratitude to all who supported his endeavor. "I've put so much into it. I work hard, and I'm not willing to give up. You'll be hearing about Pizzariffic for years to come."

The restaurant, located at 3063 S Baldwin Rd, is described as a family-oriented, sports-themed takeout and sit-down brick-oven pizzeria and Italian eatery.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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