Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima is vetoing a street closure ordinance passed Tuesday night by the Common Council, calling for the ordinance to be less subjective.
Scrima was approached by the members of the Downtown Business Association’s Freeman Friday Night Live Committee asking for a “friendly” veto of the ordinance that was passed with a nine-to-four vote.
Freeman Friday Night Live’s weekly summer street closure has been controversial for years with some claiming the event creates a difficulty for customers to get to their businesses.
“They understand the intent of the ordinance and find most of it is accurate and easy to implement,” Scrima said in his veto message on Friday. “However, some language is vague and business leaders feel it needs to be improved to avoid arbitrary and subjective decisions.”
Among language Scrima wants to see modified is:
- The definition of “undue hardship”
- Clarification about what a sufficient number of parking spaces and interference with traffic means
Several business owners brought forward concerns about the street closure ordinance during Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.
People’s Park owner Jim Taylor was worried what it meant that the City Clerk would determine whether there were sufficient parking stalls. If someone is up to “shenanigans” in the ordinance, he said, it could create problems for in the future.
“That kind of raises a red flag in my mind,” Taylor said.
Kerry Mackay, owner of The Steaming Cup, was also concerned about how the ordinance could be interpreted in the future.
“It is a little flimsy,” Mackay said.
However, Jeff Barta, owner of the Nice Ash Cigar Bar, asked the council to not incentivize people to close the streets “in lieu of our beautiful parks.”