By Tia Lynn Ivey
A request for a Beer and Wine Pouring License text amendment in Downtown Madison has the Mayor and City Council torn. A local couple, Don and Julie Parsons, is asking the Madison Mayor and City Council to allow them to serve alcohol at their soon-to-open art studio. In order to do that, the council would have to alter the language in the city’s alcohol sales law. While the city council is supportive of the Parsons’ vision to open a trendy art studio that will allow guests to create custom wooden signs while ordering beer and wine, the council fears the precedant it could set–namely, opening the door for bars and clubs coming to downtown Madison.
“I worry about establishing a precedent,” said City Councilman Joe DiLetto. “I would love to see something like this happen…I just gotta get over the precedent situation and try to find a way that this can be a positive for you without creating a negative effect down the road for the city.”
“We want to keep the downtown family-friendly,” said City Attorney Joe Reitman. “We have to clearly articulate our rational basis for allowing it in this scenario but not allowing it in others,” said Reitman.
Councilwoman Chris Hodges was hopeful in finding a way to grant Parson’s request.
“I think we have to be somewhat progressive with some of these issues. This is the trend right now to attract tourism,” said Hodges. “What if we look into limiting this kind of thing in the downtown area? That way we don’t have unintended consequences outside the downtown area.”
The council asked the Parson to do some further research on how other cities handle similar businesses while the city looks into ways to foster trendy tourist attractions without endangering the family-friendly atmosphere of downtown Madison.
The Parsons will return to the City Council at their next work session on November 4 to discuss the matter further.