Taco Bell sought a full liquor license December 2017. While the Madison City Council originally approved the request, former Mayor Paul Soglin vetoed the measure. The council failed twice to override this veto.
Newly elected Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Ald. Michael Verveer, District 4, and Ald. Patrick Heck, District 2, sponsored the resolution brought before the council Tuesday.
Heck, while acknowledging concerns affiliated with bar time and the difficulty of properly policing certain areas, believes granting the license will have little impact on the city’s drinking culture. He said the settlement is fair for both parties, and that it addresses some of the aforementioned issues.
Taco Bell Cantina has agreed to be held to the original conditions of the liquor license, Heck said, like ending alcohol sales before bar time.
“I think that minimizes some of the negative impacts that some people were concerned about,” Heck said. “They’re also not requiring the city to pay their attorneys fees, which I think is a nice gesture.”
Rhodes-Conway said the settlement is the best way to move forward. She said liquor licenses should not be considered individually on a one-by-one basis but should be reviewed with a firm policy in place that would apply to all establishments.
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She also stressed the importance of focusing on promoting businesses in the area rather than on how to limit them.
“It’s important for us as a city to not just think about how we’re going to limit the density of alcohol downtown but also how we’re going to support the development and success of other types of businesses, particularly in the State Street quarter,” Rhodes-Conway said.