Common Council Recap – Olbrich Biergarten Discussion

Posted March 8th, 2017 @ 1:54 AM by

After nearly 4 hours, had to go to a new blog post, my blog get cranky when I write too many words!

Mayor says they are still in a public hearing. They would like to do the questions of the applicants, then others. Then they will close the public hearing and then questions of staff, then discussion.

Questions of applicants
Denise DeMarb asks how they will close at 10pm and make sure that staff and patrons are out. They will call last call at 9:00, serve last at 9:30 and then get people out. The first guy doesn’t seem like its a problem. Second guy says that if its an issue, they will move up the time. DeMarb asks about meetings they didn’t attend but were asked to attend. They say there were none. They attended 14 of 16 meetings, they weren’t allowed to go to the other two. She asks about turning off music at 9:00. They say that would be ok. They also will be able to dim lights to encourage people to get moving. She also asks about not being ready to run this and having no prior experience. What experience do you have? How will you fill in for any lack of experience. He says that he works for a nonprofit that advocates for low-income people, works in policy and polics, this is a side project, but he does work on substance abuse prevention and he brings that to the proposal. He has management experience and Kesting has 10 years of corporate experience. The third guy is an attorney, worked in restaurant industry in college. Wife has experience. He has also done entrepenuerial projects where he finds a good partner, that is their plan. DeMarb asks about the operating partner. They say they haven’t chosen anyone yet, depending upon how this goes, they will start interviewing, but they have resumes. DeMarb asks if the three partners all have day jobs? Yes they do. She asks how often they will be there. Mike and Eric are around here, the attorney is from Milwaukee. For the first 3 – 4 months they will be there on Fridays and Saturdays and they will scale that back as things go smoothly.

Matt Phair asks about the security plan. One of them says that they didn’t have a plan at the outset because it wasn’t required. They didn’t ask for it until the last ALRC meeting. In terms of what they see at other biergartens, its an older low key crowd. They have a big space to cover, but they will have radios for staff to communicate, with the manager up top and the person at the entry. They say that there were problems in the parks in Milwaukee and there were less after the beer gardens and they think they can replicate that.

Marsha Rummel says this is her first meeting with them, but she did watch some of them. Will you have other sizes of beer besides 20 ounce, they will likely to 16 or 18, 20 ounce was the maximum. They don’t know what size beers they will be serving yet. Rummel asks about Shake the Lake and how you will deal with that day. They say they will have other days to, they will think about it when it happens, they might have to have more staff and a stronger barrier. Rummel asks about the fachwerk design, will that go to Urban Design. They say they discussed the idea with the Urban Design staff, they would be more subtle then the pictures they have shown. Urban Design staff can handle it if there is no touching the roof, with alder approval. Parks staff worked with Urban Design to come to that answer, Rummel thinks that was supposed to come to the commission.

Barbara McKinney asks about the conflicting testimony about the public input. They don’t really say anything new they didn’t say in their presentation. McKinney asks how many residents held in the community. He says one of each of the neighborhood association meetings (3), plus a second East Moorland, plus one for the alcohol license and an additional one hosted by Alder Ahrens. There has been a substantial amount and they have answered all questions by email and phone.

Mike Verveer asks about public input prior to the RFP, they don’t know if there was any public input at that point.

Questions of other speakers
DeMarb asks David Wallner about his concerns about all the restrictions and what his concerns are. David Wallner says that this is a place where musicians can make tips as a local musician. But ALRC clamped down on their options to do music. He is worried about going from 300 to 240 – he hopes they can make changes in the future. ALRC did their business. He stayed for 12 hours at two meetings, they have been through alot and he wants it to succeed. (Kinda weak answer)

Rebecca Kemble says she was surprised he (David Wallner) said he was responsible for it. He says that he talked to staff about 18 months ago. He didn’t overly push it, they had a meeting about a year ago when talking about placemaking at Olin Park, Eskrich was there, along with police, etc. Kemble asked if applicants were there. He says no. Staff said that it wouldn’t work at Olin and a few months later they said it might work later. Kemble asks if staff said a biergarten would work at Olbrich. He says yes. She asks if that was before the RFP came out? He says yes. She asks if the RFP was going to be about a biergarten. He didn’t know if it would go anywhere. She asks if he knew the applicants before, he says no. Kemble asks about the commission talking about mobile biergarten, he says he had never seen them. One is a Sprecher firetruck that goes to different parks. She asks if they discussed this at the commission. He says he didn’t think it came up. Wallner says he wasn’t involved in the RFP.

Rummel asks Wallner about placemaking. Wallner just walks away, he goes to get water and comes back. Rummel asks about how the commission practices placemaking to inform initiatives. Wallner says that he worked to bring people in to Brittingham when homeless people took over the shelter, they did certain things, the neighbors got more active, rangers were more active, but they turned it around. They turned it around by doing Brittingham Boats. The more eyes and ears doing positive things, that is what happened at Brittingham. That is the one project he can think of. There will be one at Marshall. Breese Stevens was a huge change with the new turf. Central Park and Breese have been wonderful for the neighborhoods, I know there is noise, but our neighborhoods have embraced those things, we now have 150 events there per year. That is a really good placemaking effort, we turned that old stadium into a tremendous thing. Rummel says he called the beach house an old dilapidated shelter. He says that it needs painting, Rummel says the soffit needs work. He says it needs electrical upgrade. He says underutilized could be a better word. Rummel asks about the beaches and the water quality. He says they don’t do much, there are probably more we can do. Rummel asks about the use agreement giving the superintendent the review, without going to Parks Commission or Council. He says they promised to come back to Parks Commission and Neighborhood once a year. Rummel says that the Parks Superintendent can renew it on his own. Wallner seems confused and doesn’t know what is in the contract so Rummel explains. He says he doesn’t know the details. (CLEARLY!!!!) He says knowing Eric’s style of leadership, he will bring them back to talk to us, they will help monitor this, he has faith in the staff and police department to make this work, but if there are significant problems, they will draw a hard line. He says to ask Eric, he’s much smarter than Wallner is.

DeMarb asks Kathy Soukup about why she says the company isn’t ready to run the biergarten, why? She says they have no experience dealing with alcohol, in the selling position. She says Jen or Jennifer could speak to it too. DeMarb says the fact that they didn’t have an establishment before? She says yes, we asked about security and they said they will figure it out when they have people. We figure at first it will be a novelty and people from all over the city will come and they will need to watch their numbers and not go over. As the weather is nice, more people will come and that will increase need for security. They haven’t got a plan. It’s nerve wracking.

Public hearing is closed.

Questions of Staff
Barbara McKinney asks why there was no racial justice tool used. She is concerned when reading the series of narratives about when it is used and when it is not, and why this didn’t warrant it? She also wants to know the process followed for the RFP and the third question is how is this a pilot for a 7 year period.

Eric Knepp, Parks Department Superintendent says they are only required to use it 5 times a year, he talked to staff today about the concern. He says they have a pretty good record, but we didn’t use it here. The decision to do an RFP was made last March, alot has changed between now and then for the tool. Our parks projects are not small projects, Brittingham Park is half a million dollars and amends the master plan, plus they were approached by Hmong people about their concerns. The use of the tool continues to evolve. A major part of the RESJI work is through policy, budget and projects. He says it was not used, because the RFP did not anticipate master plan changes or a large budget. The RFP for the Olbrich Beach House was issued in 2013. Marshal, James Madison and Olbrich were identified as underutilized. It has been a concern since he was involved. In March of 2016 he chose to prepare one again. It was for Marshall and Olbrich, they worked with purchasing to draft it. It was focused on placemaking. There was an addendum in June. Questions were about if the draft agreement was negotiable. They said that it was. He goes through more details of the dates and timeline. He says this is a process they have used before. He says they have not called it a pilot, he is wondering what that means, he doesn’t think parks has called it that. (I didn’t hear what she said) He says president Wallner is a volunteer and staff don’t see it as a pilot. They have addressed alcohol on a case by case basis. This license will be reviewed annually. The revenue to the city is $235,000 is what Barbara says, Eric says he can walk them through that. She is wondering if they make more money if that will increase. Knepp says that the attorney says they can’t do revenue sharing on alcohol sales, Attorney Roger Allen can explain that. The total revenue is challenging because the property is immeaurably valued, but this is a lease, they don’t own the property. We can remove them within 10 days if they don’t comply.

Mayor says that there are 8 – 10 people in the queue and McKinney still has the floor.

McKinny asks about the 2013 RFP – was alcohol added in 2016? Yes, it was more open ended in 2016, it did not prohibit alcohol. McKinney asks if the RFP in 2013 was integrated in 2016. She wants to know if adding the alcohol in 2016 made a difference in the number of potential interested vendors. Yes, by at least one. The other two submissions did not have that.

DeMarb asks Roger Allen about the 14 conditions. She says this is the most she has seen, she points out Shiva is saying now, she asks if the conditions go beyond the state law? Roger Allen say “no”. He says that in the alcohol code this is not about prohibition, the alcohol code is laws of enumeration, is if it doesn’t sya you can’t do it, then you can. He says that this is a bisantine patchwork of old laws and lobbying. He says you have to understand that to understand some logic is irreconcilable. The council and ALRC can do conditions to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community. Sometimes there are rights that are given, but if the applicant agrees, then they can place that on the license. He thinks when the ALRC considered these 14 conditions, (and he has sene more) this is the first of its kind, tavern outdoors, in a park, with less experienced operators. He says that they should be considered carefully, and another attorney, the city prosecutor was there and she was not concerned about them and the operator agreed to each of these. DeMarb asks about less restrictions in the future, have you seen this happen. He says “quite often, yes”. She asks about the amplified sound. She asks what 75 decibles are – he says light conversational sound at the sidewalk on the street. She says then it is pretty limited, he says yes.

Sheri Carter asks Knepp about Brittingham Boat House, did they also remodel that, like this group is going to do? He says it went through a significant remodel. AT their expense, he says yes. They essentially pay for only their neglect, but they paid for 90%. She asks if this is a ground lease, he says absolutely not.

Paul Skidmore asks about the architect drawing of the premises, who did that? Knepp says parks staff did. Skidmore says the lease rate is a sweet deal, who negotiated that, did you consult real estate staff. We did eventually.

Tim Gruber asks about the city costs. Knepp says that the electrical was $35,000 and they split the cost, that was the case from the beginning. The electrical service is unsafe for anyone except maybe Rutabegga could be there at a low level of service. They are doing it up front, with their staff and materials. They are doing the work, but they are paying for the work done on his behalf (gravel pad). They are sensitive about contractors they allow in parks. Gruber asks about parks allowing alcohol, more than 14 have bans, probably 44 of 66 are banned. Gruber asks if the alcohol ban in Olbrich could go away, does it ever happen. Knepp says to their knowledge they haven’t changed it back. Some of the temporary ones expired. Olbrich became permanent relatively recently. Gruber asks about staff getting out of the park at closing time. Knepp says that he doesn’t have major concerns, they can achieve that goal, but he suspects that they might agree to 9:15 closing time, but they will work with them on that.

Ledell Zellers asks if they could renegoatiate or are we locked in on the fees in 2023. He says that they are required to disclose financial information, and if that is very successful, he is hopeful that they would be encouraged to renegotiate. He hopes they understand that if it is a phenomenal success they have to have a public give back. He says given it is new, it is unlikely that there won’t be enough of a change in concepts after 3 years where they won’t renegotiate at that point, if not before. Zellers asks what if this is a disaster, who has the authority for terminating and under what circumstances and how quickly. Knepp says that if they provide notice, they have 10 days to cure it and if not they can cancel it. Zellers asks what a term of the agreement is? Noise? Trampling shrubs? Is that a term of the agreement? Knepp says section 27. He says the license is more restrictive, they are pretty strident, most of the issues they will see are there. It is always a challenge to attribute issues to the biergarten such as if a shrub gets destroyed, but they routinely monitor issues. They have to have a alcohol license in good standing. Zellers appears to have a different draft than the one in legistar which is newer. She asks about issues in the license, then they would have 10 days. Knepp says that they have managed alot of noise issues and have gotten good at it. 75 decibels is not very loud. Noise is a crazy thing, but he doesn’t think it will be close to audible on the other side of Atwood.

Zellers asks about if this will be a zoning issue, and if it will go to the plan commission. Matt Tucker, zoning administrator says that with the new zoning code, they had plan commission and the zoning code rewrite committee come to the same conclusion that they would leave it up to the parks commission. IN general, uses or activities were not something that fell under conditional use review except stadiums, etc. like the Mallards. He says the Brittingham Park concessions did not require approvals, but they did look at it from an Urban Design perspective, so it was a permitted use. Attorney May says this is a significant issue, and since state law says uses are up to the plan commission, plan commission leaves it up to them. Never before has that included a tavern and if you look tavern is not conditional or permitted and in their view, there is some point where someone is going to say that it needs a zoning change, he doesn’t know if this is that case or not. What if they want to put condos in the park. He is not sure where the tavern fits in. The stadium at Breese is different. The zoning is not clear, there are two ways to interpret it. Maybe we should think about whether a stand alone tavern in one of our parks should get a zoning code change. They have been discussion this back and forth for days. Zellers asks about 28(g)(1) in the code under parks, it appears that it is a conditional use, what am I missing. May says that when you define it as a tavern, did we mean a traditional tavern, or does it cover any tavern covered by the ALRC, is a biergarten a traditional parks use. He finds it a little distressing that it is a tavern for ALRC but not the zoning code, he finds that different. He thinks the council needs to decide. Is it like Rutabegga boats or like the Warner Park Stadium.

Mayor says that regardless of how this turns out, he is asking for a recommendation to clarify all these questions about the categorization of the use of land in parks.

Rummel asks about the traveling biergarten concept. Knepp says it has been mentioned in the past and they have looked into it. The traveling biergarten is done with Sprecher in Milwaukee and Milwaukee staff. They did talk about it with staff and alders where parks were considered, but they came up with few options where staff didn’t have to sell the beer and they chose not to pursue that. Rummel says that the staff works the entity? He’s not sure exactly how that works, or the structure or legality, initially they wanted to do it.

Mayor says this is interesting, but he wants them to stay on the issues before them.

Rummel says we banned alcohol and yet parks staff and commission did this, did they address that at all? Her impression is that it wasn’t discussed. Knepp says it was discussed and mentioned by staff. He says that a ban on free and open beer brought in and a permitted use through a licensed provider or a permit through MSCR is different. Rummel says you can have a picnic license for the day. The common council banned alcohol, so here it is, we told the parks commission we don’t want alcohol in the park, and the parks commission allows it. How did you get to there? The zoning doesn’t allow it. How did you get to the point where you allowed a beirgarten. Knepp says the zoning question is relevant for Marshall and Olbrich, he can’t speak to the details of that. The commission has decided this is a case by case review. It was talked about and heavily debated and it was a close vote. May points out that the parks division or commission can make exceptions. Rummel says that needs clarification.

Mike Verveer asks about community input at the RFP level. What was available prior to issuing the RFP and after they were submitted. Knepp says that they did not have input prior to the RFP. Then it was put on BKM to do community outreach, that is the engagement around the RFP process. Verveer asks if they had conversations with any neighborhood stakeholders about the RFP for placemaking services before it was issues. Knepp says not to his knowledge. Verveer says that the placemaking RFP didn’t mention alcohol except the example attached that says no alcohol. How did you get to alcohol being an option for respondents to the RFP. Knepp says it was a broad net. We recognized that boating and water access is important. The attachment was an error, they issues a change part way through. Verveer asked how the RFP advertised, was there any outreach? They said through purchasing. They did send it out to some vendors who asked for it. THey did not send it out, that is an opportunity for improvement, but they have never taken that role. Verveer asks if they reached out to brewpubs or industry when they decided that a biergarten would be acceptable, especially given the interest of Wallner and others. Knepp says they did not reach out. Verveer asks if they have heard from any that would have been interested? No, not to his knowledge. One entity has contacted them, but they were not interested. Are there any disappointed businesses that wanted to respond? They have not hear from anyone. Verveer asks if Tyler Leaper was steered towards Marshall Park, Knepp says he preferred that. Verveer asks about termination and if that is the standard default language? Knepp says it is standard. Verveer says that Dorn Viste sent an email to the mayor that the standard language was different. Knepp will look, yes he says that is the language they start with. Verveer asks about the zoning code on page 19 it says that the requirements needed is conditional use from Plan Commission and Urban Design approval. Why is this language in there, will they be required to do this? Knepp says that with UDC, they talked to the Secretary about it and Al Martin said that if this is approved, they will file with the secretary for review and they will provide advice and guidance from there. The plan commission he would defer to the Zoning Administrator and the City Attorney. Verveer asks Mike Verveer if they do not need to go to Plan Commission. Tucker says he didn’t look at the use agreement, they thought use of the stand in the park for this use was consistent with what you do in parks and wouldn’t require special approval from the plan commission. May says the reference to the conditional use is language from another agreement, this would require a zoning text amendment with Plan Commission and Council approval.

Samba Baldeh asks how much staff time will be spent on this? Knepp says that the excavation cut and regrading will take 5 – 7 days of a small crew, $3-4,000 in staff costs, which they will have to reimburse. Baldeh asks about getting information with revenue, will that be shared with the commissioners. Knepp says he will review that with the city attorney. They don’t have this right with the Mallards and others, but they have it with the golf folks. He will be able to speak to it more generally. Baldeh asks about the equity lens and why they didn’t use it. Knepp says it is usally only for projects that cost a sizable amount of money or require a master plan amendment. He says he wished he would have done it. Baldeh asks if he will fix this next time around. Do you have issues on how this was done? Knepp says that they will work with the commissioners about the RFP process and where they can improve. Community engagement and notification up front could be done. Baldeh talks about the 10 days, what leverage do the neighbors have. Knepp says to have them contact Parks so they can start the clock to recitfy them. He says 10 days isn’t usually a factor and its usually corrected quickly.

Rebecca Kemble asks about the master plan for Olbrich park, why doens’t it need an amendment. Knepp says yes there is one, and they don’t need an amendment, he says the mowed law typically gets re-programmed so it didn’t change the use of the master plan. This was unprogrammed or undedicated space. If it was on the south end where it was a natural area or potential dog part, then there is a conflict. Kemble asks about placemaking and the process, are you familiar with that? Yes. Kemble says the process comes first with placemaking. Knepp says he looks forward to continuing the conversation with the commissioners. He says that was a misuse of the term and that is a fair criticism. Placemaking is different than this.

Alder King moves the previous question. Rummel is in the chair, its not debatable, only King, Bidar-Sielaff and Hall vote aye to cut off debate.

Alder Phair says that the racial equity issue and process – we have heard from staff that they will look at it and make it better. He hopes we can learn lessons and move on. We should look at the application itself and decide if this is good for the city. He says the placemaking word was used when this wasn’t true placemaking. This truly isn’t placemaking. He hopes they separate process from the actual application. The noise issue, he understands, but he looked up the decibels and its like a vacuum cleaner, he understands voices carry, but its hard to think it will be that bad. He says that the safety issues seem far-fetched to him. This is a late afternoon type of place, to watch the sunset. The terrace is a peaceful place during the day, with few incidents. He says the tavern question is that this is a biergarten and that is different. We don’t have biergartens in Madison. That is different than a tavern. We need more discussion about regulation of this moving foward. He thinks this is a great project, great public-private partnership, this is the future, we need to find new ways to socialize and use our parks in a changing world, and change is hard. We have to remind our selves this is a community park and we need to think about the city as a whole and not just the neighbors, he’d be shocked if this didn’t work out. He doesn’t think we will see wasted people peeing in your yards, noise will not be a concern. Lets admit we have process questions and separate that from the application and look at how we can improve.

Mark Clear thanks everyone who was involved. This has been an emotional issue and he’s glad it didn’t get personal. Clear says he wants to address how they got here and how they thought of the alcohol ban. The struggle was real, there have been changes in direction and it is rarely unanimous. The parks commission sees alcohol in a licensed process as different. Sorry, missed some. He says this does meet the definition of placemaking because it will activate the space. He says that we are not familiar with the term biergarten. He says we wouldn’t get so up in arms if we understood it, it might be some drunken debauchery Octoberfest kind of thing – and that is not what this is. They are well run, low key and have prevented crime.

Tim Gruber says this is a placemaking project, in the sense of the Memorial Union, he never thought of that as a biergarten. Placemaking is about creating a place people want to be and its about activities. It’s not just the biergarten but the games. He says that Brittingham was transformed by bringing more people into the park and he thinks this will be a safe and inviting place. He says that this is about how we use our parks, originally it was nature, then it was sports and bands. Gardening is another activity is private use of public land. He argues this ia public use of a public space. He doesn’t think this will be a bar. He views it as positive, but he thinks the concerns we will find out it is really nice.

Zach Woods says that Memorial Union is one of the best things in his district, and not only the city but the state. He says on a Sunday you will will find several languages spoken, 4 year olds and 84 year olds, people on their first date and who have been together for 50 years, people studying hard and hardly studying. He says that there is a neighborhood around Memorial Union. He says young people have different ideas and our resistence to change is frustrating. He takes exception to the issue that people have with young people have an idea and staff working to have it happen.

Rummel says she has gotten alot of contact, for and against. This is hard, she is trying to weigh the policy issues and the coolness issues. She starts with our policy about alcohol in parks, this is a first of a first. It is a tavern without walls and its has two masters, Parks and ALRC. She would have never thought a tavern was a permissible use in a park. She says if they want this, we need ot change the zoning code, she doesn’t think this is legal. She lived through the zoning code re-write and doesn’t recall giving them that authority. She doesn’t give them control over alcohol. She is struggling with that. She is glad that Eric said placemaking is the wrong word, that set up all kinds of expectations, that teh community is involved in the front end. They may have loved this idea, or they might come up with another good idea. We haven’t taken care of this building, and I can see why parks wants to use the money to fix it up. She says we have to work on our beaches. When she saw there was no alcohol, that was the expectation. But suddenly they are selected and they sent to the ALRC. How would you know to talk to Eric. She says this whole thing was backwards, she is stuck on placemaking that started after the RFP and the tavern and zoning issue. If people like this idea, we should re-bid it, but only after we listen to all the ideas for the space. The zoning issue for her is insurmountable.

DeMarb plans on supporting it. Knepp laid our room for improvement in the process, and the fact that they had to amend the RFP after it went out. She says you don’t always get it right the first time and you learn as you go and she has confidence they will get this buttoned up. She has been bugging Eric for 2.5 years for more vibrant uses in the parks, she did not expect a biergarten. She went to Frieburg and she sat in a biergarten and there was alot going on. A lot of older people used the parks and we need more vibrant uses.

Skidmore is opposed and his opposition is growing with each meeting. A biergarten in a city park came out of left field. There weren’t definitions of the premises or a security plan. From a policy standpoint this is a private use of prime public land that is limited. He says that Warner Park, Breese Stevens and the Memorial Union are all very different. They have clear boundaries, the staff are trained and have expert security staff as well as trained police officers and experienced and stable owner and manager and experienced license holder. He says the process is an issue, he understands that we make sausage, but this could have been significantly different if we went through a listening process before the RFP was issues and he says that he has heard this is a sweet deal. Normally real estate helps determine the value in these types of cases and that bothered him. These are not deal breakers in and of themselves. He would be more comfortable with a lease arrangement. He says that when they approved the alcohol license they could not consider many things. He was disturbed there were no details on a security plan or what the licensed area was. Originally the bathrooms were also an issue. They finally did get a plan done by city parks and he thinks that was wrong. He is concerned about the health safety and welfare and he has issues with security. He says the best practice is two fences so you can’t pass drinks, not planters with a rope. He says they typically have issues with overconsumption and underage drinking and this will be no different. He says a rope is not a barrier, its an inconvenience, and if you drink enough if becomes a challenge and eventually you trip over it. He says when it is crowded they won’t be able to see who is coming in and out. There is not a number of how much security they will have. ok . . . I’m not listening . . . it’s 1 am . . .

Larry Palm says he heard alot about concerns from his constituents. He says change is hard, we need to know the parameters and think about the risk. Ok, now my tv has decided not to work . . . I missed what Larry is talking about . . . something about the impact of change in the community vs. near by neighbors. He says he spent 8 hours in the Bubbler recently and hadn’t spent much time there in the past and he was amazed. He says the library has changed, they are hiring people who aren’t librarians and provide something or skills other than books. Libraries have changed along with how people want to use them, and he says that parks are similar. There are lots of stars and astricks on this project and hopefully this is successful and we get to do it again, but this is an opportunity for us to see what parks can do. We have the capacity to say this isn’t working for us through Parks and ALRC. He says we have to change with what people want. Why not let people have access to have a drink in the park. Why not let people enjoy a 16 or 18 ounce better beer.

David Ahrens says that the main problem in the park had been a fairly small group of alcoholics who drink all day until they passed out in the playground area or around the bathrooms. When we passed the alcohol restrictions that came to an end. There can be exemptions to it, there is an extensive exemption on season long exemption for softball players. There has been a liberal use of permits. Every time the issue comes up they show people playing music and they have a six pack and but there were no complaints so it was overlooked. The 14 conditions are self imposed and not even listed. Taken together it is important to realize this is the most restrictive of any license in the city. Only one beer is sold at a time. That is the best tool to deal with underage drinking. Second there are no pitchers. If you compare this to our festivals, and how large they are and this small operation is minimal in comparison. Captain Snyder says in an email sent today, he has reviewed the security plan and he thinks it looks good. Captain Schuaf says she has no concerns. Two captains have reviewed it and those are their comments. He says there was alot of talk about the process and little about the content. He thinks parks staff and everyone agrees it was imperfect, but not so imperfect that we should turn away from this project. They have had 25 hours of committee meetings and this 6 hours and the proposal has been changed. The process worked in that regard. We have heard alot about qualifications and he thinks they have heard more than their share of the grief about that. They are just the investor, if I invested in Microsoft I wouldn’t be expected to be a coder. He says Olbrich is a series of playing fields, with a lake on one side and a 4 lane highway on the others, this is not a serene alcove, anyone who stands there can be seen for blocks away, there aren’t even benches. So if you don’t play soccer, you can walk and look at the lake, but not much else attracts you there. Phair hit it on the head, since we haven’t seen this, we relate back to what we know. We think of a tavern or bar with it being dark at 2am. His trust is with the operators to carry out something positive for the community and themselves. They will get good karma, and hopefully make money. That is not an illegitimate ambition.

Kemble says there is a big opportunity for change for things to happen in parks,but it would have been greater if we had engaged people – neighbors, anglers, sports players or Friends of Starkweather Creek. She is all for change and the arc of change, but not when it breaks or goes against or hedges so many of our policies. She wonders why the council voted on the ban on alcohol if parks can change it – the answer is so the police can ticket. Her number one issue is why is Parks going around our policy. There are real social justice and equity issues here and she thinks that we should life the ban on alcohol in the park. She says there is also a zoning issue, we need to change the zoning. The provision that the Superintendent makes the decision and its not reviewable is problematic, she trusts Knepp, but what if we get a new staff person. He would send it to the council or parks commission if someone asks, but what happens when something goes wrong, what we look at is the contract. She is concerned about that provision. She is also concerned about the barrier issue, we employ alot of police to monitor the situation on State St., but here they will likely not respond. We are signing a use agreement, a 7 year agreement with investors who don’t have staff and don’t know how they will operate it. With investors with no track record in the industry. Also, no parking study was done. Who will be displaced? She won’t vote for is. She wishes they could debate the issues before the application is on the line and work them out before we got here. She won’t vote to approve the license or the use agreement.

McKinney says change is good, she is good young people spoke up, this was an emotionally charged discussion. This isn’t about the applicants, they did what they were supposed to do. She doesn’t have an issue with Parks assisting them, but we are accountable. We can bend the arc, but we have to be careful as our community becomes culturally diverse. We have to be consistent because it will cause us severe problems. She asked the mayor about looking at RFPs, and she remembers transparency and we as policy makers need to make sure we look at it and it goes to a broad spectrum of people so people have an opportunity to respond. She is excited and hopes its successful but we can’t just make adjustments as we go, we have to go back to the equity lens. In two years we need to be moving toward a consistent standard of when to apply the equity tool. We can’t leave it up to the department heads. For two years we have talked about diversity, but don’t have a consistent standard. We have a responsibility for that, this is not about the applicants, but we as policy makers have to be accountable to doing a good job.

Zellers says that you can disagree and still support change. She has supported alot of change in District 2, and its not just about the outcome here, this could be very cool, vibrant and successful, but process matters. Not just the outcome or end point. This wasn’t a level playing field. She realizes mistakes happen and she doesn’t blame anyone, but the result was the lack of a level playing field. She suspects more people would have applied if they understood alcohol could be part of the placemaking plan. She is bothered by that. And the zoning issues bothers her and she thinks we need to make a conscience effort about that.

Soglin says the last three speakers encompassed the thrust of the discussion. Change by definition is not by itself progress or better, we hope its progress or better, but what we are looking at here is a one off. This is s significant change in a a number of city policies and he is very disturbed we would do that. A small percent, 7% of the shoreline is available to the public, the rest is private or institutional. We have to answer the question about reversing the position that shorelines are accessible. Second there is the issue of monetizing city property and its been an issue for the past 40 years. We have tried to get the private sector to do it, and that has led to more fees and we do away with the notion that access is based on what you can afford. We aren’t clear on the value of this real estate. What would it cost to get a 7 year lease on the lake with these amenities, we aren’t meeting our fiduciary responsibility to the public. Lastly, what makes a place interesting isn’t anything physical about it, but the people in the place. Perhaps the nature of the place will attract other people, in some cases you want solitude. Going to a movie and being the only one there is not as good as if others are there with you. Do we need alcohol and do we want it to be city policy to be that alcohol is what is needed for engagement and social interaction. In placemaking you start out with a discussion and you ask, ask, ask. People who use the space, people who go through the space and how people who don’t use the space. It was a good effort, but we missed the mark in that regard.

Clear has questions for the mayor. He asks if the Mayor talked to parks staff and the parks commission. Mayor says yes he talked to the parks staff, but not the parks commission. The mayor and Clear get into an argument about what the mayor should have done. Phair says that was diappointing.

The motion is to adopt both items. He was intending to divide the question. There is a motion to divide, and an objection. The qustion is not divided. They do a roll call vote. Eskrich has abstained. It passes with 12 votes – King, Palm, Phair, Wood, Ahrens, Baldeh, Bidar-Sielaff, Cheeks, Clear, DeMarb, Gruber, Hall. No votes include Kemble, Rummel, Skidmore, Verveer, Zellers, Carter and Harrington-McKinney.

63. Legislative File No. 45662 – Approve the Connect Madison Economic Development Strategy as the City’s Economic Development Plan and to direct City Staff and the Economic Development Committee to move forward with implementation. (Report of Economic Development Committee – Council President Mike Verveer – For the Purpose of a Staff Presentation)

They pass it without discussion.

There are the three items on the consent agenda.
Ahrens refers item 73 to sustainable madison committee
Clear had an introduction I didn’t catch.
Skidmore has an item that is by title only. It passes as well.
It’s nearly 2:00am when they end.

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