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The Morrie ownership change papers problem

By Grace Lovins

Errors in the filed paperwork led Birmingham city commissioners to take no action to approve the ownership change of the The Morrie restaurant, located at 260 N. Old Woodward, during the Monday, June 3, commission meeting.

Planning director Nick Dupuis said the ownership change does not come with any physical changes to the site aside from minor remodeling on the inside and a name change. He said the outdoor dining, building facade and general interior layout will all remain the same.

The documentation that was submitted to the city listed the new name of the restaurant as Coterie, and the new owners as Old Woodward STA, LLC. Randy Foumia of Old Woodward STA, LLC, stated he would be the new owner of the restaurant if the special land use permit amendment was approved.

The discussion took a turn when Foumia told the commission that he, along with his branding team and identity team, had decided to change the new name of the restaurant from Coterie to Terra Kitchen & Cocktails. City attorney Mary Kucharek said she was perplexed considering all of the documentation and the public notice had been advertised with the name Coterie.

“Public hearings really need to adhere to the strict format of process. I think we’re going to have to reset the public hearing and redo this with the proper name and executing all the documents with the name as identified here tonight,” Kucharek said.

Kucharek recommended that the commission take no action and the city restart the public hearing and public notice process once the applicant has submitted the correct paperwork with the proper name. She also stated that the applicant should be responsible for the cost of re-notifying the public.

Commission Clinton Baller also said he was skeptical of the fact that the applicant is not requesting any changes to the building. “What we don’t want is somebody who comes along and says for the sake of expediency, ‘Oh, I’m not making any changes,’” he said.

Baller encouraged Foumida to provide some more details about what the future plans are for the restaurant when he comes back for the approval of the special land use permit amendment.

The commission did not make a motion as none was needed.


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