Written by attorney Michael A. Brower

Michigan Liquor Licenses: The 1/2 Mile Rule (Rule 436.1133)

Rule 436.1133 - The "Half-Mile Rule"

"An application for a new specially designated distributor license or for the transfer of location of an existing specially designated distributor license shall not be approved by the commission if there is an existing specially designated distributor license located within 2,640 feet of the proposed site."

Measuring the 1/2 Mile

The method of measuring the 1/2 mile is the same as that used for determining the distance between a location and a church or school (MCL 436.1503).We typically use an online measuring tool (e.g. as a starting point when estimating distances.

The steps are:

  1. Determine the shortest route between the existing church/school and the proposed location.
  2. Create a beginning and ending point by projecting straight lines, at right angles to the center line, from the part of the church or school building nearest to the contemplated location and from the part of the contemplated location nearest to the church or school building.
  3. Measure the distance between the two points located in the center of the road. If any turns are taken, measure to the center of the intersection, and then turn, continuing down the center line of the road you have turned onto.

*Note: MLCC Staff will measure using their own tools regardless of your findings. Measuring ahead of time is simply a good method to prepare yourself.

Waiver of the Rule

The commissionmaywaive the 1/2 mile rule in one of five situations:

  1. The existing SDD purchased less than $10,000 in spirits from the commission during the last full calendar here. This can be checked from here.
  2. The existing SDD has a B-Hotel or A-Hotel license.
  3. The proposed location and existing SDD's establishment are separated by a major thoroughfare of not less than 4 lanes of traffic. Turning lanes do not constitute a lane of traffic.
  4. The proposed establishment is located in a neighborhood shopping center which does not have an existing SDD licensed establishment and the proposed establishment is not less than 1,000ft from any existing SDD establishment.
  5. The existing SDD is located within 1/2 mi of one or more existing SDD licensees and requests a transfer of location, which location is within 1/2 mi of the same existing SDD licensee(s) (upon a showing of good cause by the licensee requesting a transfer of location).

Resort SDD Licenses

If there is no basis for waiving the 1/2 mi rule, an applicant may apply for a Resort SDD licenseifno quota licenses are available. The 1/2 mile rule does not apply to Resort SDD licenses.

For more information on Resort SDD licenses, see

**Note - This information was up-to-date as of July 31st, 2012

Additional resources provided by the author

You can visit the Michigan Liquor Law Network @ for further resources relating to Michigan liquor law. You can also visit for up-to-date information on Michigan liquor law, best practices, and more.

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