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Friday, April 12, 2024

UW student gov’t opposes city’s alcohol density plan

Associated Students of Madison hosted a student forum Tuesday evening in an effort to address concerns with the city's proposed Alcohol Density Plan and allow students the opportunity to respond to it. 


The plan, which was originally proposed by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, and Ald. Judy Olsen, District 6, aims to reduce the amount of alcohol-related violence and disorder downtown, according to Madison Alcohol Policy Coordinator Joel Plant. 


The Alcohol Density Plan is intended to affect the density of alcohol licenses and restrict the number of certain types of licenses. Overall, licenses have increased over the past 10 years.  


Plant said the plan is not going to address problematic establishments themselves and is not aimed at decreasing alcohol consumption, both of which are common misconceptions about the proposal. 


""It is a very small piece and certainly not the most important piece of the ongoing effort to reduce alcohol-related problems in our community,"" Plant said. 


ASM Shared Governance Intern Steven Grant said with passage of the proposal, ASM foresees an increase in the number of house parties and in travel time to and from bars—resulting in more unsafe situations and longer lines at existing bars that could result in more agitated people violence. 


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""We [also] think the plan will hurt downtown Madison's great reputation for having a lot of locally owned businesses and for having a very strong local feel to it,"" Grant said. 


Plant said he does not expect the plan as it currently stands to be the final draft that will be put to a vote. He said he predicts a vote to be taken sometime this summer, after city committees have an opportunity to offer suggestions and recommendations to the proposal. 


Grant said ASM is hoping to work with the mayor's office and City Council to develop a more direct solution to existing problems.

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