After four hours of testimony, Madison’s Alcohol License Review Committee voted 5-2 to grant a liquor license with conditions to a beer garden proposal at Olbrich Park.
More than 30 East Side neighborhood and city residents came to the Wednesday meeting to express their concerns about alcohol, noise and safety problems that might occur if the alcohol license was approved.
Neighborhood speakers said the garden should be a family-friendly area. They were primarily concerned that children would be exposed to drinking culture at an early age and the additional vehicle flow would create a safety concern for the kids.
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The developer of the beer garden, BKM Group, presented their proposal, which showed the venue operating seven days a week until 10 p.m. In addition, the beer garden would have a capacity of 240 people.
BKM Group proposed to develop the beer garden as a picnic seating area similar to Memorial Union Terrace.
The application, to the dismay of concern city residents, showed a plan where 70 percent of the items sold in the beer garden would be alcohol.
Opponents of the proposal requested to shutdown the operation two days a week and decrease the capacity to 150.
Kathy Soukup, president of Eastmorland Community Association, said the community will be going down to the beer graden frequently to observe how it will function and report any issues.
“We’ll document complaints as much as we can,” Soukup said.
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Since BKM Group has no prior experience in alcohol management, the committee requested the group to work out a specific security plan with Madison Police Department before the next committee meeting March 7.
The committee also restricted selling beer after 9 p.m.
If approved by the City Council, the beer garden will be able to operate from 2017 to 2019.
Michael Bare, BKM co-owner said they will be satisfied to have the community enjoy the nature and communicate with each other in the new beer garden.
“We think this will be a tremendous positive for the city and build cohesion with the neighborhood,” Bare said.