City News

Want to include alcohol in grocery orders you pick up curbside? Now you can.

Madison alders, including Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, voted Tuesday to override Mayor Paul Soglin’s veto of “click and collect” alcohol purchases.

Image By: Emily Buck

The Madison Common Council voted to override Mayor Paul Soglin’s veto of “click and collect” alcohol sales Tuesday night after the ordinance that would allow such a sale was reconsidered.

The first override failed 9-7 at the council’s last meeting on Feb. 6 for which Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, who sponsored the legislation, was absent.

Verveer, now in attendance, expressed his support for the ordinance change and was annoyed with the pace of action.

“I’m embarrassed that we’re taking so much time revisiting issues over the last two months,” he said.

However, Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, who originally supported the ordinance when it was voted on in the Alcohol Licensing and Review Committee, said “the devil is in the details” and the more he looked at the legislation, the more concerned he became.

Ald. Barbara Harrington-McKinney, District 1, agreed and wasn’t sure the council was ready to make a decision on the ordinance.

“We’ve had licenses come before us in the last few months and we keep traveling the same road because we have not been very specific with our policies and procedures and I’m not quite sure that we’re there,” she said.

But proponents, such as Ald. Steve King, District 7, responded that the ordinance is sound as is.

“I can’t believe that we’re still talking about this,” he said. “It is the 21st century and there are multiple places doing this in Wisconsin.”

King’s frustration was a microcosm of what was the larger discussion: whether to follow suit with other nearby municipalities or to not, with the hope that preserving the current rules would help salvage business for smaller, locally-owned grocery and liquor stores.

“This is opportunity for us to simply be responsive to the market demand that is modern,” Ald. Maurice Cheeks, District 10, who also stated waving safety as an objection to the ordinance is just “bluster.”

One of those individuals was Mayor Paul Soglin, who in his official veto noted that stores allow for better lighting and identification of a customer. However, he also addressed the concern for small businesses, writing, “the locally owned stores, with limited parking lots or no parking lots, will not have the space to complete this outdoor transaction.”

Bob Hemauer, co-owner of Cork N’ Bottle on East Johnson St., was one of the business owners voicing concern over the ordinance, saying their lease wouldn’t allow for deliveries to parked cars.

“I sincerely hope you choose a path of equity and fairness for businesses like ours,” he said.

Verveer expressed regret for Hemauer but said the vast majority of other similar businesses have the parking capabilities that would allow them to participate.

Officials approve new Language Access Plan

Norman R. Davis, director of Madison’s Department of Civil Rights, presented the city’s new Language Access Plan, a process that will provide free translation and oral interpretation of all benefits, programs and activities in Madison.

The translations will be available in Hmong, Chinese Mandarin, Spanish and American Sign Language.

Members of Madison’s Tibetan community spoke in support of adding Tibetan to the list of languages provided.

The Department’s Language Access budget has $122,000 for the 2018 fiscal year which includes the cost of translating documents and having translators at press conferences and meetings.

New Monroe Street commercial property to proceed

A new Monroe Street construction project a few blocks southwest of Camp Randall was approved after a presentation by the project’s architects and numerous testimony in support of the project.

Currently at the project site, which stretches from the intersection of Monroe Street and Spooner Street to the intersection of Monroe Street and Stockton Street, is an Associated Bank, which is slated to move locations. Around the property are other vacant stores.

The new project would add an underground parking lot as well as a single commercial building that would include one story of mixed use, like retail or restaurants, and four stories of residential housing.

Local residents of the block expressed their interest in a central commercial hub.

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