Important Information When Applying for an Outdoor Service Area

by Mason Doerr


  • Please provide the actual and accurate dimensions of your Outdoor Service area (ODS) on your application.
  • Regardless what type of ODS for which you apply, the Commission grants approval based on your request for a specifically sized area.
  • The Commission’s approval order will specify and list the dimensions for which you have applied.
Why is this Important?
  • The area, once approved by the Commission, becomes licensed premises.
  • According to the Michigan Liquor Control Code & Administrative Rules, you must have control over your licensed premises through lease or ownership and you must be able to provide that documentation.
  • The Commission’s jurisdiction is limited to licensed premises and alcohol can only be sold and served on the licensed premises.  It is important to note the specific dimensions of the outdoor service area.
  • The Code/Rules address what is allowed on licensed premises.
  • Your insurance likely covers licensed premises.
Inspections of Outdoor Service Areas (ODS)
  • All types of ODS will be inspected.
  • For 2020 Limited ODS, inspections will be done after approval and the permit is issued.
    • For the Limited Term ODS area, alcohol may be sold/served/consumed on an outdoor service area AFTER the permit is issued (even if MLCC Enforcement has not yet conducted an inspection).
  • Permanent ODS areas are often approved subject to a final inspection to verify the ODS dimensions are as indicated on your application.
    • Before the Commission issues the permanent ODS permit, a Commission Enforcement Division investigator will do a final inspection.
  • All final inspections are considered a priority and completed as soon as possible. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide any information requested by the MLCC Enforcement Division so the final inspection report may be submitted in an expedited manner.
If your ODS area dimensions are larger than your initial request . . .
  • The MLCC investigator will submit the correct dimensions to MLCC’s Licensing Division for review.
  • MLCC staff will compare the new measurements to the measurements submitted on the original application to affirm changes noted by the Enforcement Division investigator.
  • An amended order will be prepared and submitted to the Commission for approval, prior to issuing your permit.
  • Any difference in requested dimensions could delay final approval of your ODS application by a couple of weeks, dependent on the volume of applications.

Completing your ODS application accurately is critical for timely processing and we appreciate your efforts to give us complete information.

Thank you for your cooperation.