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Alder Scott J. Resnick

Alder Scott J. Resnick,
Council President Pro Tem

Home Address:
661 Mendota Ct # 1404
Madison , WI 53703

Phone: 608-807-7962
district8@cityofmadison.com
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Life After ALDO

July 11, 2013 7:24 PM

Before my time on council, I have been critical of the Alcohol License Density Ordinance (ALDO). With the current language set to expire on January 1st, 2014, I am optimistic the new plan will encourage creativity, new entertainment downtown and focus on promoting good liquor operators over vilifying alcohol.

For those new to these conversations, ALDO is a geographic area between Park and Blair Street where capacity for new liquor licenses are capped. ALDO places a cap on the number of taverns in downtown Madison. Enacted as an ordinance to promote safety, limit alcohol consumption, and increase retail business downtown, the unintended consequences have shifted the city's priorities away from the actual problems downtown.

Our college students and young professionals want new venues and concepts that aren't necessarily vertical drinking. Concepts such as live music have proposed for downtown yet in two years not one entertainment license has been issued. Not one. Bureaucracy has increased. Liquor licenses have become overvalued, and business owners spend more time fighting ALDO restrictions instead of working to build the most appealing business for State Street.

Two years ago, I led a compromise a two-year transition period away from ALDO. Additionally, it allowed for capacity extensions for taverns, and provided positive incentives for good behavior. City staff is now exploring "what's next" for alcohol downtown.

First, I am encouraged by the initial recommendations including:

  • Restricting the location of class A establishments (liquor stores)
  • Improved liquor license point system
  • Improved violation reporting to ALRC
  • Facade grants to promote retail
  • Less restrictions for bars around the Captiol Square and King Street

 

However, I still have reservations. One significant recommendation is to create a "State Street Overlay District" where particular businesses such as taverns, night clubs, or cocktail lounges will be barred from opening. If an existing establishment wanted to sell their business, it would significantly jeopardize that locations ability to reopen as  the type of business.

I don't believe this is the correct strategy. While a State Street Overlay District could work, the reccomendation to ban new licenses goes too far.  The City will be placing major hardship on existing businesses such as Wando's, Johnny-O's, and Monday's. After six years of ALDO, we've seen that more bureaucracy means fewer entertainment establishments, even when members of the Council, including myself, attempted to create favorable policies. Let's focus on creating the right safe guards and make taverns accountable for their actions, not limit who can open on State Street.

Public opinion on the final recommendations will be sought later this fall. I will be holding a listening session for students and business owners to collect input on campus. In the end, I am confident we'll be able to reach a compromise that increases downtown safety while promoting activities that make State Street and our downtown a regional destination.

 





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