When it comes to 924 Willaimson Street there are not many fond memories for the residents of the neighborhood unless they recall back prior to the arrival of Plan B, a gay bar where music blared too loud, and drunken crowds roamed the streets. What was not to love?
Many residents recall with fondness the camera store that had been a business anchor on the block. But then a change started to come to that portion of Willaimson Street. For some of the ‘bright lights’ among the business crowd, it seemed easier to make bucks selling drinks than creating ideas about how various small shops could be assembled to add to the residential aspect of the neighborhood.
Let us be honest. Plan B was a public nuisance. For the families in the area with kids in bed early at night, and parents needing to be alert come the start of another day, the nightclub was clearly a very bad decision made by the local neighborhood association along with the city. After a number of years the drinkers and dancers tired of their playground, and the establishment underwent a name change. Nothing, however, could salvage their business plan and the place closed.
Needless to say, the locals who are homeowners or renters were pleased. The sad men who use Grindr, not so much.
Recently the neighborhood learned that a new business team, wishing to cram 375 drinkers into their nightclub, is filling out the paperwork and pressing the flesh with movers and shakers in the right offices and social circles. They seem intent on opening Canopy Nightclub within weeks. Barring the process of a conditional use permit, which can slow any proposal down severely, noise and parking problems are soon to again be a part of this neighborhood.
In 2008 Madison Alderwoman Marsha Rummel wrote the following to the Plan Commission.
I support the application with conditions -some from the meeting held on Monday- and others from talking with staff, immediate neighbors, and MNA Board members. I think the applicants will create an instant hit with their vision and I think it could be an exciting addition to the neighborhood.
She then added this truth.
But there is a significant minority who are opposed to the proposal because of concerns about impacts on the quality of life. Most think the capacity is too large and some are alarmed by recent incidents of alcohol/bar related violence downtown. The calls and emails I’ve received since Monday have been largely opposed.
All are now aware, as should be the alder, that placing a nightclub into a residential neighborhood is like slapping a medium-rare steak onto the plate of a vegetarian. Nothing good can follow.
Former Marquette Neighborhood Association President Lynn Lee, living a block away from the booming bass music emitted from the club, even went so far as to paint canvasses of art to sell at a local festival so to raise money to ensure Plan B remodeled their roof. At the time I still respected Lee and bought a print for $200.00. But no one in the area should have to hawk his or her wares just to get a good night’s sleep!
The owner of the property, but not the proposed new business owners, is Chuck Chvala, the former state senator who was convicted in the state Capitol caucus scandal.
Your voice is needed if you feel that bar crowds and children sleeping at night do not mix. You should express yourself if you feel, as a renter, you should have a parking place at the end of your day as opposed to it being taken by a vehicle for a nightclub drinking spree. You should alert city officials if you feel, as a taxpayer, that your need to sleep peacefully should not be hindered from car noises and rowdy folks who are tanked.
Here is some information that will lead you in the directions that will be most meaningful when you reach out to raise your objections. Thanks.
Upcoming Canopy Nightclub Review Meetings
Meeting by the new owners of the proposed bar, Canopy.
Wed, Jan 8, Time? Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center
MNA P&D Meeting
Tues, Jan 14, 5:30 pm. Wil-Mar
To sign up for the agenda and announcements, write: Jack Kear <email@example.com>,
ALRC Alcohol License Review Committee
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 at 5:30 pm.
City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 201
Marquette Neighborhood Association Board Meeting
Mon, Jan 20, 7pm. Wil-Mar
Plan Commission (?)
Agendas and minutes: https://www.cityofmadison.com/dpced/planning/plan-commission/1577/