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Posted on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Liquor license approved for Waters Road Target; Costco denied

By Lizzy Alfs

Target and Costco are looking to sell liquor at their locations in Pittsfield Township.


A sign at the site of the new Costco store announces it will open summer 2012.

But because of liquor license restrictions, only the Target on Waters Road received approval from the township.

Target requested a Specially Designated Distributor Liquor License for its two Pittsfield Township locations: the one on Waters Road and the one on Carpenter Road.

Costco requested the same type of license for its under-construction store in the Airport Plaza industrial park near the corner of State and Ellsworth.

This type of liquor license is for grocery, drug or convenience stores to sell spirits in the original package for consumption off the licensed premises.

The Target at 3749 Carpenter Road was denied because it’s located within 500 feet of a residential area, said Mandy Grewal, Township Supervisor.

And because Pittsfield Township only had one liquor license and Target applied for it before Costco did, Grewal said only Target will be able to sell liquor for the time being.

“Because Target applied first, we granted the liquor license to Target,” she said. “We are looking to receive another application from Costco for the liquor license next year and we hope to be able to meet their request at that time.”

Costco is building a 148,000-square-foot store with 720 parking spaces and a gasoline station. A sign at the construction site announces the store will officially open in summer 2012.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Wow another month - is there ever going to be an update to this story?


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Come on - where is the update to this story?

Lets Get Real

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:07 p.m.

Are they nuts? Costco has the best prices on beer, wine and liquor because they are one of the largest sellers of alcohol in the country thereby negotiating better purchase prices and lowering cost. The reasoning given in the article by the "officials" is flawed and inconsistent with their actions as cited by many other comments. Whatever their reason - be honest about what it is. Sounds like first come, first served - but I've go tnews for Target - when I think of a place to go to buy beer, wine and liquor, I don't think Target. I think of Target for clothes and household goods. Costco? Yes, because when I'm buying in quantity, which is the Costco model, I'm thinking friends over, party, holiday celebration and I'm thinking good price. Pittsfield needs to examine their criteria. Who is best suited to service the request - a business who devotes a whole section to alcohol in it's food section, or one that puts it in a corner as an afterthought? Makes me wonder if Pittsfield is holding out for an "incentive." I agree with the observation - hold the application over for a week and issue the license to them in 2012 as the first to apply rather than making this a news story. I'd like to see Costco put a FOR SALE sign out in front of the partially completed building. That might put a scare into the blind vision of this leadership.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

Hey Governor Snyder, you want to help Michigan businesses in a free market way? Get rid of these archaic teetotaling liquor laws that restrict the number of licenses granted. Grant everyone (businesses, restaurants, private clubs, etc) who applies for it a liquor license and revoke only if they fail to abide by the conditions of having it. Our struggling restaurants will appreciate it! By the way as a bonus, you can get more fees and sales tax money too! Win - Win for all!


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

This is just a politics story that shouldn't have even been picked up by the media -- I assure you that Costco will have a license to sell liquor by the time they open: they sell huge quantities of beer and wine in their stores.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

This makes as much sense as Pittsfield Twp's decision on the Muslim School ... which has led it to a huge very expensive lawsuit, likely to lead to a multi-million dollar loss, payable by the citizens of - you got it, Pittsfield Twp. You go, Ms. Grewal.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

This is when I feel like an old-fashioned libertarian (not the kind that some have morphed into - after all, you can't have it both ways). Here is where we really need government and their services: making sure our garbage is picked up; making sure were have sufficient police, fire department, roads and meeting other city services. It's even prudent to have restrictions on places like Target and Costco and Meijer being able to open in certain places (after all, a quiet residential neighborhood should stay that way), but this is just where it gets to be too much. Seriously, whether Carpenter Road or Ann Arbor/Saline or any other area where it's business/industrial and places like Target, Meijer and Costco already exist, then, really, what is the problem with any of them selling the products you expect them to carry. I don't want a store in my back yard. I don't live on Carpenter Rd (or State St.). If you live near a busy street and choose a residence within 100 feet of a big store, then be okay with what they sell. If Meijer at either location can sell liquor, then by all means, so should both Targets and Costco. That's just silly. Talk about policies that hurt business and growth.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 6:48 p.m.

"The Target at 3749 Carpenter Road was denied because it's located within 500 feet of a residential area," said Mandy Grewal. That's completely illogical given that the Meijer's practically next-door sells liquor and the Target on Water's Road is clearly within 500 feet of a residential neighborhood. The real reason is obviously that Pittsfield only gets one license to grant a year. Maybe Ms. Grewal was just making up a reason that might sound better than "we flipped a coin and the Water's Road store won."


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

Seriously? What would be the point of preventing Costco from selling liquor when it is sold on just about every street corner in Pittsfield Township? I'll bet Costco is soooo happy with its decision to build a store there now.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

Ms. Grewal has bent over backwards to get Costco in Pittsfield. She'll find a way to get them a liquor license. Maybe the city should just annex everything north of Ellsworth in this area. It's bounded by city to the north and east and the airport to the south.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

Just like the movie............Dumb and Dumber!


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Don't screw with Costco! They've been known to " bite back ".


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

The state should eliminate the entire notion of liquor licenses. What utter nonsense.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

So you would be ok with convicted felons, or people who haven't paid their taxes getting liquor licenses? I would say limiting the NUMBER is bad, but any person who qualifies and can pay the fee should be able to get one. Of course those that paid astronomicla $ to get theirs would be pissed then


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

Hey, the liquor board's gotta keep that supply artificially low to keep their revenues up! It's the free market at work!


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

The state sets the guidelines and law for liquor licenses, not a township. State issues one per year to local governments and it applies to "hard liquor" and not beer/wine, I think. Different laws apply to each type. Folks that are upset they can't buy whiskey at Costco in 2011 need to get a life. Store isn't even built yet and there are many other options to get your binge on. I think it is a good idea to give a preference to existing businesses and not roll over and hand out everything to Costco. Target has been here for years.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

I drive to Costco in Brighton if I want to refill my liquor cabinet. It's worth the drive.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

I love the attacks on the current administration and the township itself over a liquor license. Wasn't it just a few years ago that the former administration was banking on Walmart as the center of a "Downtown Pittsfield"? That worked well, didn't it? 6 empty storefronts and a major restaurant chain that never materialized. Thank goodness Costco has decided to build within the township. The property behind Tyner's was an eyesore left over from the distant, but fun, 80's.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

The Target on Carpenter already sells wine, and has done so for awhile. So...they don't have or need a liquor license to do that?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 12:44 a.m.

Different licenses for beer/wine sales and spirit sales.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

@A2James: Beer and wine sales need a different kind of license called a Specially Designated Merchant License. This has different requirements than a Specially Designated Distributor License.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

So...are there any existing party stores in local neighborhoods in Pittsfield? Because if so, then they need to be closed immediately. "One liquor license" for the whole of Pittsfield county? What kind of rinky-dink place is Pittsfield? Clearly, they only need one large box store then so Costco should immediately abandon plans to continue to build their store and move their business to a more friendly township.

David Briegel

Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

Our prudish laws about liquor are just patently absurd! And to treat Costco in such a manner is just awful! Just get that bootheel of your evil big gubbermint off the neck of the people! Most of these laws date back to the 19th century let alone the 20th century! A prudish version of a "Christian" nation that never really existed. I just wish the "free marketeers" really believed in that pablum they spew.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.

Considering you can buy liquor at any stop and rob this is just petty politics at its must remember how this crew got into office in the first place fighting the wal-mart because it was in their megabuck homes back yard... also interesting that they gave themselves a week plus ( paid i'm sure ) vacation over the holidays and closed the tswp. offices...looks alot like washington to me...

Les Gov

Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 11:48 a.m.

What is it with the so called Authorities of Pittsfield Twp....can't they ever be honest? Lets look at what was said in this article. "The Target at 3749 Carpenter Road was denied because it's located within 500 feet of a residential area, said Mandy Grewal, Township Supervisor." Now do a Google Map view of the Target on Waters.....that neighborhood in the back of Target must be within 500 feet, or even less....what makes the Neighborhood on Waters less important than the Neighborhood near Carpenter? The rules in Pittsfield Twp are all just made this article wrong?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

I have no idea about the specifics of this situation, but before condemning the people involved folks should know that liquor license rules are very strange. I know, for instance, that when the LCC measures distances, it is not as the crow flies, but as the road goes. So a residential area directly behind a store may be a long distance from the establishment by the road. The same applies to distances from schools, churches, and other licensed establishments. On top of that there are many more layers, such as exceptions regarding roads that are four or more lanes wide, and so forth. Liquor laws are weird in every state, they are just weirdly different from state to state. They grew up out of religion, politics, and graft. We live with the consequences a century later.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

The Girlnextdown is absolutely correct - Boulder Ridge subdivision is directly behind the Target on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd (less than 500 ft). There are two other subdivisions next to Boulder Ridge...Arbor Creek and Hawthorn Ridge. All three subdivision are in Pittsfield township...Lodi township starts on Waters Rd when it turns from a paved street into a gravel road.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 6 p.m.

@Chris: Boulder Ridge sub is right behind Target on Waters/Oak Valley Drive. That's Pittsfield Twp.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

There are some homeless people residing in the woods behind target on Carpenter, and the last time I saw them they were within 500ft of the rear of the building.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

It could be that the residential neighborhoods near the Waters location are not in Pittsfield township but Scio Township? If (a big if, since I don't know the answer) that's the case, that may explain why the "within so many feet" rule isn't applied to the Waters location.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

What I don't get is this. If the Target on Carpenter is 100 feet from a residential, isn't Meijer who also sells liquor also within that same footage as well? I mean they had a liquor license before the residential area came into play then Target came and so did the housing. So, does that mean Meijer should loose its license as well? I do agree with this poster, why is Target on Ann Arbor Saline Road getting a license and it too is also within 100 feet? Plus that Meijers also sells liquor and it was built when those houses where there. Go figure the politics.

Basic Bob

Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

I wouldn't be so quick to blame the reporter. The propaganda and misinformation coming out of that office is appalling.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 11:32 a.m.

Target on Carpenter is 100 yards from Meijer... Costco has to reapply "next year", although they aren't opening until summer. Couldn't table app for a week? Silly process...