Downtown Madison will not have to fear an alcohol shortage following the city council’s decision to dismiss a motion placing a temporary ban on new alcohol licenses.
The motion, proposed by Mayor Paul Soglin in January, did not have much support on the council, which voted unanimously to reject it. Soglin argued the prevalence of establishments serving alcohol downtown is a major factor contributing to violence in the area. If approved, the proposal would have placed a temporary ban on the issuance of new alcohol sales permits to restaurants and bars in a large stretch of downtown, including most of State Street and surrounding areas.
Instead, the council approved a motion directing the city’s finance director to analyze the relationship between alcohol sales and violent behavior in the area in order to make recommendations on changing alcohol laws.
In addition, the council granted $6.8 million to four development projects they said will create 310 units of affordable housing in Madison. The city will allocate $4.82 million of its Affordable Housing Fund toward the projects in conjunction with a $1.92 million grant in federal HOME funds.
The biggest recipient will be the Madison-based Bayview Foundation, a nonprofit providing “affordable housing and supportive services” to low-income individuals. Their development, located at West Washington Avenue and Regent Street, will be a 130-unit building including 120 affordable housing units. Their project will receive $2.9 million from the city and federal governments.
At the end of the meeting, Soglin asked everyone in attendance to observe a moment of silence “in honor of democracy” in response to Republicans in the state legislature, who have promised to curb powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.
“Democracy is very much alive here in the council chambers of Madison, Wisconsin, unlike the chambers two blocks to the west of us,” Soglin said. “Some people are very, very bad losers.”