By Rosemary K. Otzman
The Belleville Moose Lodge plans to make its move this week end from 831 E. Huron River Drive in Van Buren Township to a new temporary site in a strip mall at 1000 Sumpter Road, next to the Cork & Bottle party store, also in VBT.
Robert Coutts, administrator of the Belleville Moose Lodge #934, said they plan to move items the week end of May 17, 18, and 19 and turn the former Moose building over to the new owners on May 20 or 21.
Coutts said the BYC has been patient and many BYC members are also Moose members. The Moose will be paying a total of $2,000 per month rent for two units in the strip mall, which will be their temporary location.
“It’s up to the members to support the club,” Coutts said.
Last December, Coutts said the BYC made a “rather generous offer” to buy the Moose property, which had been up for sale.
The BYC is a private, social group that had purchased a lakeside lot at 430 N. Liberty Street in the City of Belleville and had planned to build its clubhouse there. The BYC stands for Belleville Yacht Club, but that name cannot be used because it is legally owned by the owner of Johnny’s Grill.
On Sept. 13, the Belleville Planning Commission approved the BYC’s plan to build a two-level private clubhouse of 7,300 square feet. That was almost double the size of the 4,300 square foot clubhouse approved by the city planning commission on Nov. 10, 2011. No construction ever started there.
The Moose Lodge at 831 E. Huron River Drive in Van Buren Township also is on Belleville Lake. The assessed value of the property for 2012 was $515,900. The parcel has 3.98 acres and a huge parking lot in front.
In early January, Coutts announced the BYC exceeded the requirements for the purchase price given by Moose International for the property and building, although he did not disclose the price. The closing on the property was due for the end of January.
It was a friendly agreement and the BYC gave the Moose until after the International Dart Tournament it was hosting at the end of April to vacate the premises.
The BYC first gave the Moose until May 1 to move out and then extended that to May 30 when the Moose had trouble finding a place to move.
Coutts said the Moose was looking at multiple options and the members have to do what is financially best for the club.
“Our goal is to stay in the tri-community area and continue operations,” Coutts said in January.
That was the month the Moose submitted a proposal to buy Sumpter Township’s PNA Hall, Coutts said. He said he met with township attorney Rob Young and Supervisor Johnny Vawters.
Discussions continued for four months — through April — when the township said it was no longer interested in selling the hall.
Coutts said the Moose made three proposals on the hall to Sumpter and received no counter offers.
On April 23, the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees went into closed-door session to consider the sale or rental of the PNA Hall to the Moose. After the session, Coutts said township attorney Young told him he couldn’t get a majority of four people on the board to agree.
That was the end of the PNA option.
Coutts said the Moose considered the Progressive Hall in Romulus, but that didn’t work out. The Moose had a special meeting in early May and decided to rent space temporarily from the Cork & Bottle.
They will attempt to move their liquor license and lottery terminals to their new location. Coutts said they have to talk to the Liquor Control Commission about that and with Van Buren Township about the liquor license move and possible zoning restrictions.
Meanwhile, on May 7, the VBT Board of Trustees passed a resolution approving a new Club Liquor License with Entertainment Permit for the BYC at 831 E. Huron River Drive. The township granted the club’s request to skip the preliminary application and move forward quickly.
The property at 430 N. Liberty Street is for sale, but it will be used as the BYC headquarters for this Saturday’s Belleville Lake Cleanup activities, an annual project.
By Rosemary K. Otzman