Rochester Hills City Council on Monday, July 16, unanimously granted conditional use approval and a recommendation to the state for a liquor license transfer to RH House, 2630 Crooks Road, for future alcohol sales.
Plans were approved in March by the Rochester Hills Planning Commission for the 4,411-square-foot, full-service restaurant located at the former YaYa's Chicken location on the west side of Crooks, south of M-59. Because the former restaurant didn't serve alcohol, the new owner of the property is required to receive conditional use approval from city council to serve alcoholic beverages.
The current building is in the process of being renovated, with plans that include an outdoor dining patio, improved landscaping, facade renovations and increased seating capacity to about 114 seats, not including the outside dining area.
"This development is exactly what we long for," Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said, noting the vacant business currently at the site and the quality of the proposed operation.
Councilman Ryan Deel echoed the mayor's sentiment.
"It's a big improvement to what is at the location presently," he said. "I'm happy to see this development."
Council also approved a recommendation to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to approve a Class C Resort Liquor License transfer to RH House.
Rochester Hills Clerk Tina Barton said the resort style license was sought by the developer due to the lack of available Class C tavern licenses, which are limited by each municipality's population. The specific resort license, she said, is one of 550 issued by the state, and permits outdoor service, food service and entertainment. The license also requires at least 100 seating capacity, which RH is planning in its expansion.
Councilwoman Susan Bowyer questioned whether there was a limit to the number of such resort style liquor licenses, as the request was the second for such a license in recent months.
Barton explained that there were initially 550 such licenses issued, but there could be more. However, she said city council is able to regulate the number of liquor licenses in an area through its ordinances if they believes there's a saturation of alcohol-related establishments.
Barton noted the increased use of liquor licenses in Rochester Hills and other municipalities, particularly by establishments that haven't traditionally served alcohol, such as brunch restaurants, spas and salons.
"You normally wouldn't see that when Class C licenses were first introduced," she said.