By Jessica Mathews and Mike Kruzman /

As restrictions on businesses are lifted in the coming months, Hartland Township is said to be putting their “Business Friendly” slogan into action and looking to boost the safe re-opening of local businesses.

The Board of Trustees is currently drafting a resolution to temporarily relax ordinances pertaining to outdoor dining and sales to help keep safe social distancing practices. The Township ensures that the process for businesses to make these changes will be streamlined. A press release states the plan will involve a simple permit with no fees and an easy submission process as the goal is to help businesses with limited indoor seating and retail capacity to expand to outdoor space to help establish a successful launch. Hartland Township has stepped up to assist these businesses and has reached out to other governmental agencies to confirm that they are also willing to streamline their processes in these challenging times.

Township Supervisor Bill Fountain said they want to give businesses all the tools they need to succeed but because of social distancing, they know that businesses won’t be allowed to open at full capacity when phased re-openings begin. He said if working to relax restrictions when it comes to outdoor seating will allow restaurants to serve a larger number of patrons in an open, safe atmosphere; then they’ll make it a reality in their community. Fountain said he’s reached out to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, the local Fire Authority and the local Health Department and all have been quick to respond and willing to advocate for the cause.

At an online meeting, Thursday, Township Planner Troy Langer said they are using the special event application, and no fees will be charged. The application gives them a name, phone number and email, and when the 30-day approval is up, it helps them reach out to ask if the business owner wants to continue for another 30 days. Applicants also need to provide a visual of their outdoor plan, that could be as simple as a hand drawing on a site plan. Langer said they can even help with finding a site plan. The plan and application will then go to the fire department for approval. Hartland Deerfield Fire Chief Adam Carrol said his department can even go out to a businesses to consult and help design where things can safely go outside.

Fountain said even though the Board still needs to approve this plan, as far as they are concerned, it takes place immediately and will not be enforced against.

Langer said the turnaround from applying to approval should be no longer than 1 day.

The release notes the Michigan Liquor Control Commission is also making it easier for liquor licensees to move business outdoors by simplifying their licensing process for outdoor services. As a “Reopening Workgroup” was formed to share ideas and consider suggestions from restaurants and bar owners on what they needed to help them prepare for reopening, they were able to streamline application processes pertaining to outdoor services. Links to applications can be found on a new Reopening Resources webpage. The link is provided.