Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A few of the most frequently asked questions….


What kind of business can I open downtown?

There are multiple uses permitted by ordinance within the City Center zoning district – principal permitted uses, uses permitted after administrative approval. and uses permitted after special approval.  
The City Center Ordinance identifies all accepted use in detail.


How long does it take to go through the Site Plan Review Process?

The City of Clawson has worked diligently to create a very streamlined process to move businesses into the city. The complete Site Plan process – from plan submittal to final approval by the Planning Commission – can be completed in 85 days.

The City of Clawson Guide to Development outlines the requirements, timeline and flow chart of activity.


What is the most frequent cause of delay in Site Plan Review?

Upon the initial review by the City Planner, revisions to the plan may be required. The most common delay is in the time for the applicant to return the revised plan to the city.

The revised plan must reach the City Planner in time for the second review and placement on the Planning Commission agenda.


Are there times when Site Plan Review is not required?

Yes, there are times that require only administrative approval. The city building department may grant administrative approval for such things as structural changes needed for ADA compliance, minor facade changes and tenant changes in buildings deemed development ready.

The Site Plan Review Ordinance details the criteria for administrative approval.


How do I get a liquor license in the Downtown?

The first step is to check the availability of any license held in escrow within the city of Clawson. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs allows for a search by county on their website.

The next step is to contact the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) and determine the type of license that best fits your situation and type of business.

More information may be found on the MLCC website.


What is a Redevelopment Area Liquor License?

This is special license allowed only within the Downtown Development Authority district. The license can be obtained for an initial cost of $20,000.00 and can not be transferred from the location for which it is issued but may be transferred to a new owner and must be relinquished to the MLCC if the business closes.

Additional standards must be met, including but not limited to, hours of operation, quantity of seating, and redevelopment dollars invested in the property. The complete set of standards is included in the Michigan Liquor Control Code of 1998.


What factors are considered in granting a Redevelopment Liquor License?

It is not the intent of the city to replace an escrowed license with a redevelopment license, therefore, the applicant must identify the unique characteristics of their business and why they, above all others, should receive a resolution of support, as required, from Clawson City Council.

Additional questions may be directed to the Joan Horton, the DDA Executive Director at