City of Madison
Post by Fareed Guyot on 4/22/2013 12:30pm
This post originally ran on the Willy Street Blog.
The Marquette Neighborhood Association voted this week to ask a City of Madison Committee to review the alcohol license of Plan B nightclub at 924 Williamson Street. In a letter approved by the MNA Board on Thursday, April 18, the association wants the City’s Alcohol Licensing Review Committee (ALRC) to separate Plan B’s license for closer scrutiny when the ALRC makes its yearly license renewals in June.
The battle over noise at Plan B has pitted a nightclub which appears to be in compliance with current noise ordinances against neighbors who nightly feel vibrations from the bass portion of the music being played at the club. The owners of Plan B say they have made good faith efforts and spent money to ameliorate the noise issues. The neighbors say that Plan B has only taken minimal steps to solve the problem and refuse to tackle the main culprit: a roof that is susceptible to vibration and is likely transmitting it toward the neighborhood one block away.
Post by Fareed Guyot on 3/28/2013 12:51pm
This post originally ran on Willy Street Blog.
10:40 p.m. Updated below with statements from Marsha Rummel and a resident close to Scott Thornton.
Outside political money has found its way into the District 6 Alder race. Residents reported receiving a mailer from Building a Stronger Wisconsin, a 501 (c)(4) Political Action Committee based in Waunakee that doesn't support a specific District 6 candidate but does take sides in the race.
The mailer attacks incumbent Marsha Rummel as "ineffective" and "unresponsive" on the Madison City Council. The mailer cites two specific examples where Rummel has disappointed saying that the district "needs someone who will actively fight for our interests".
The first instance relates to the reconstruction of Williamson Street in 2011 the opportunity to place utilities underground; saying Rummel voted to not fund the part of the project that would place power lines underground. The mailer also accuses Rummel of missing community meetings and not returning correspondence from district residents.
View the mailer here
Both lines of attack are familiar as Rummel's challenger Scott Thornton has leveled both charges at her during the race, most recently in an interview with Willy Street Blog.
Post by Fareed Guyot on 3/25/2013 1:30pm
This post originally ran on Willy Street Blog.
District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel is once again allowed to eat at New Orleans Take-Out on Fordem Avenue after being banned by its owner on March 9 due to a vote during a City Council meeting earlier this month.
The exile was over her vote to reduce Sherman Avenue to two lanes and install bike lanes in the curb lanes and a center turn lane. The City's biking community rejoiced but the Northside Business Association was against the move saying its members will lose money.
At the time of the ban, NOTO owner John Roussos emailed Rummel and said, "You will be told to leave. If you do not comply the MPD will be called." according to the email she shared with the Isthmus.
"I was really sad when I got the email from John Roussos, and he has subsequently unbanned me which makes me very happy. He was very concerned with the proposals for improvements to North Sherman Avenue." Rummel told Willy Street Blog. "Honestly, every single person at the Council meeting that night voted for those improvements."
Post by Christie Taylor on 3/22/2013 1:00pm
Wednesday's Alcohol License Review Committee was one of both expected and unexpected controversies. The committee kicked off revocation proceedings against sushi restaurant T Sushi and sports bar My Buddies, denied Soga's request for Karaoke, and, after great debate, referred until next time a new liquor license for a catering company that would fill the East side space formerly occupied by Talulah.
Members in attendance: Lisa Subeck, Mike Verveer, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Thomas Landgraf, Michael Donnelly, Ann Zambie, and Sam Stevenson.
The committee unanimously approved several changes to the city's alcohol licensing ordinance. The Madison Common Council will have to approve the changes before they take effect.
- The first amendment would change the penalty for revocation of a license, so the city would no longer be required to wait a year before issuing a new license to the same premise--one reason the committee has been hesitant to begin revocation proceedings in the past.
- The second change would add a new requirement that license holders notify the city when they change their business name, with a $25 fee attached.
- The final two changes would apply to 21+ and visual and performing arts entertainment licenses, requiring applicants to wait a year before applying again, if denied a license the first time.
The change, if approved, would apply retroactively to applicants who have recently had entertainment licenses denied, Zilavy said.
"This encourages establishments to stick to their original business plan," Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Zilavy said.
Post by Cynthia Schuster on 1/17/2013 5:56pm
The city's Alcohol License Review Committee met Wednesday for the first time in the new year.
On file or referred:
The committee was expected to follow up on a matter pertaining to T Sushi's (301 State Street) liquor license, but the item was referred to the Feb. 13 ALRC meeting.
The Change of Licensed Premise application for Punta Cana Restaurant (2705 W. Beltline Hwy) was placed on file without prejudice.
The 21+ Entertainment License application for Soga (508 State Street) was placed on file without prejudice.
Bonfyre American Grille - 2601 W. Beltline Hwy
The managing staff of Bonfyre American Grille wish to expand their licensed premise by revamping part of its establishment. Currently, this space operates as The Beacon Cafe, which is only open in the mornings and serves items such as coffee and sweet rolls. It hasn't proved to be a profitable venture, they say, so they hope to give the space a facelift and re-open it as The Beacon Lounge. Bonfyre owner Sean Baxter, at the meeting Wednesday with general manager Patrick Qinlan, said the lounge would be a restaurant predominantly serving food and liquor, and it would be open for lunch. There's also an atrium space available for private events, which he's recently discovered isn't licensed for serving alcohol. Under their proposal, Bonfyre's outdoor capacity would not change but the indoor capacity would increase slightly.
Post by Christie Taylor on 12/20/2012 3:10pm
Facing the onset of a looming winter storm, the Alcohol License Review Committee moved its Dec. 20 meeting an hour early in the hope of finishing before the snow started falling. Even after approving more than 11 items without discussion, the meeting lasted three hours, but managed to beat the snow anyway. While a revocation action for the now-closed Logan’s was on the agenda, the committee moved to not resolve those proceedings until July, to allow the possibility that a new tenant might begin operation within the next 12 months. In addition, the committee approved licenses several new establishments, but denied an entertainment license to Soga, saying the restaurant posed too strong a risk of turning into a nightclub-like setting.
Changes of Agent and Corporate Control:
The committee unanimously approved four changes of agent and two changes of corporate control without comment. They are:
The Radisson Hotel, 517 Grand Canyon Dr.
Speedway, 4902 Verona Rd.
Longhorn Steakhouse, 418 S. Gammon Rd.
Copps Food Center, 1312 S. Park St.
Hyatt Place Madison, 333 W. Washington Ave.
Bonfyre, 2601 W. Beltline Hwy.
Change of Licensed Premise:
Segredo, 624 University Ave.
Since July, nightclub Segredo was required to submit weekly incident reports to the police as a condition of their license renewal, a response to a handgun incident that occurred at the club in April. On Wednesday night, the committee unanimously voted to rescind the requirement, without discussion. MPD Captain Sue Williams said the department had been impressed with changes the bar had made in staffing and safety practices. "We fully support the change of licensed premise to relieve Segredo of their license conditions," she said. “They are doing a fine job.”
21+ entertainment license:
Soga, 508 State St.
One of the most contentious items of the night was Asian fusian restaurant Soga’s request for a 21+ entertainment license. Speaking through an interpreter, owner Jing Jiang said he wanted the license in order to have a DJ and karaoke on weekends, as well as play a variety of east Asian music styles, including Korean pop and Chinese and Japanese traditional music. “It would be the first true saki house in the Madison area,” he said. In addition to adding a DJ, Jiang, who said he currently gets only 5 percent of his revenue from alcohol sales, said he plans to raise that to the full 20 percent his license allows.
The committee expressed extreme reservations about the request, focusing quickly on the security plan, which included three personnel in radio communication. Soga is currently licensed only on the condition that it operates as a restaurant, and MPD Central District Captain Carl Gloede, by e-mail, said such a personnel plan seemed too extensive for a restaurant.
Post by Christie Taylor on 11/27/2012 3:50pm
The Alcohol License Review Committee met Monday, where only a few items actually made it to a vote, but in the process, the troubled Orpheum acquired a new license, the committee gave up on mediating noise complaints at Whiskey Jack’s Saloon, and a longtime manager at the decades-old Main Street Depot received permission to inherit the business’ license from his employers.
The meeting had been rescheduled from Wednesday, Nov. 21, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
New license and entertainment license
Orpheum Theater, 216 State Street
The foreclosed Orpheum Theater advanced closer to opening its doors in time for a planned “small” 800 to 1,000-person gathering on New Year’s Eve, a goal Frank Productions co-owner Fred Frank revealed Monday night in addition to concerts already booked for February 2013.
Frank Productions, which manages the Halloween FreakFest event and books concerts at several Madison venues, is managing the building for Monona State Bank in the months before the property goes up for auction. Frank appeared Monday night to request a license to serve alcohol, which he said would occur only in conjunction with booked concerts.
“We are only going to operate this as a theater,” Frank said. “We're only going to open the doors when there's a show. When the show's over, we're going to close the doors."
Post by Christie Taylor on 10/18/2012 10:00am
Wednesday’s meeting of the Alcohol License Review Committee went faster than expected, with two potentially contentious items--a major expansion for T Sushi, and a revocation of license for Logan’s Madtown--deferred to later dates. At the same time, approval of a new coffee/wine/beer establishment under Metropolitan Place was lengthy and controversial, with a number of concerns raised about the completeness of the menu and ability of the establishment to function as a restaurant.
Brasserie V - 1923 Monroe
The Belgian-themed restaurant and bar received consent agenda approval to expand into the empty space next door at 1921 Monroe St., previously home of Premier Couture. Brasserie V owner Matthew Van Nest requested and received a capacity expansion from 46 to 99, allowing for a second bar and 43 seats in the new space, but no other aspects of the restaurant will change.
The Fountain - 122 State
The committee approved The Fountain’s requested expansion via consent agenda, paving the way for the restaurant to take over the interior hallway between its State Street frontage and the bakery next door. Restaurant capacity was not increased, and remains at 275 indoors and 36 outdoor.
Post by Emily Mills on 10/15/2012 5:00pm
Tensions between the City of Madison and its homeless population, as well as those advocating on their behalf, are only increasing after an incident last Wednesday resulted in personal belongings being thrown into the trash.
According to a Madison Police Department incident report, "On Wednesday morning, Madison Police discovered a large number of items left on city property between the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum, 30 W. Mifflin St., and State St."
Those items included bed rolls, suitcases, grocery bags, medicine, clothing, and "containers of alcohol." MPD reports that it had been working to educate people in the area that it is illegal to abandon property in public right-of-ways, but after an hour of searching that morning the officer responsible was unable to locate the owners.
"The officer then contacted Mall Maintenance staff and asked that the property be removed. Mall Maintenance responded with a truck and the abandoned property was taken to a city facility on Olin Ave.," reads the report.
However, according to those who had their belongings thrown out, they property had been stashed on the mall so that they could accompany a fellow homeless friend to the hospital for a medical procedure.
Brenda Konkel, director of the Tenant Resource Center and a former alder, contacted the city to ask why the property had been put in the trash instead of held, as is the policy for lost or abandoned property.
City Attorney Michael May's answer claims that the items in question were trash, and not subject to statutes regarding lost or abandoned property. The MPD incident report, however, refers to the items as "abandoned property" several times.
Post by Christie Taylor on 10/9/2012 4:00pm
Following the city’s recently passed ban on panhandling on State Street and the Capitol concourse, the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin has said it might sue if the ordinance is not repealed, saying the restrictions violate citizens' First Amendment rights.
In a letter sent Friday to the mayor’s office and the Common Council, ACLU of Wisconsin senior staff attorney Karyn Rotker said the group particularly objected to banning panhandling in the city’s central business district, and the citywide ban on panhandling within 25 feet of intersections and near ATMs or establishments serving alcohol.
“Solicitation for money is constitutionally protected speech,” Rotker wrote, adding that the U.S. Supreme Court has already found it unconstitutional to punish speech based on “profound unsettling effects” or “public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.” Prohibiting requests for money or donations, even if the prohibition includes anyone seeking money for any reason, including charity organizations such as the Salvation Army, is an unconstitutional, content-based restriction, she argues.
“The government does have a legitimate interest in protecting citizens from intimidation and harassment, and we do not object to reasonable restrictions on aggressive panhandling,” Rotker wrote.
But, she said, the previous ordinance already included such protections, and the new ordinance was overbroad--potentially, for example, it could be interpreted to ban someone from asking a friend for a cup of coffee.