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Street Closures Could Cost More in Waukesha

Proposed ordinance would require organizers for events held on city streets to pay the costs of traffic control, security and sanitation.

Special events held on city streets could get costly for the applicants if a proposed ordinance is approved by the Waukesha Common Council.

"If the city deems that the event requires additional city personnel, equipment and services to address issues including but not limited to traffic control, security, clean up, sanitation and safety, the applicant shall pay the actual costs for the use of such personnel, equipment and services," according to a proposed ordinance.

The ordinance change would affect all street closures from Freeman Friday Night Live to the Waukesha Christmas Parade and the Memorial Day Parade.

The exact financial impacts are unknown.

The majority of the ordinance changes come from a downtown taskforce’s recommendation, including a requirement that event applicants maintain commercial liability insurance.

The proposal brought questions Monday night at the Ordinance and License Committee from a few aldermen and downtown stakeholders who want to see some limits to the street closures in Waukesha.  

Alderman Duane Paulson said he likes seeing more responsibility placed on event organizers.

"The person applying is going to be responsible," he said.

Downtown resident Victoria Hekkers wanted the ordinance to also have a point of contact for when there are problems with events, such as streets closing early or safety hazards.

"We are firing up kilns on the street with few barriers," Hekkers said.

Downtown bar owner Jeff Barta, who has publicly opposed the street closures for Freeman Friday Night Live, felt that fees for the use of public streets should coincide with fees for renting out parks.

"I would hate to have incentives for people to use our streets instead of the parks. … Parks are for people, streets are for traffic," Barta said.

A second part to the revised ordinance introduces permits for the sale and display of goods and merchandise on city sidewalks. Under the proposal, no one can set up goods, wares, merchandise, tents or tables and chairs without a permit from the city. Permits will not be issued unless it is in conjunction with an event.

The use of city sidewalks for merchandise would be similar to the city’s outdoor dining rules, which require proof of liability insurance and leaving a four-foot-wide path on the sidewalk for pedestrian safety.

Violations of the proposed ordinance could be between $50 and $200 a day.

No decision was made on the proposed ordinances, which will come back to the Ordinance and License Committee in January.

KKM December 11, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Since the inception of Friday Nights Live and the art crawls we have spent an average of $100 for every time we visit the downtown which is at least twice if not more a month. We try a new restaurant most times, drinks at another and have come home with some beautiful creations from the shops. If you make it harder for this to happen and you will see business dry up like it was starting to do years ago. There are closer places for us to frequent of a Friday but we love the downtown area, the people, the shops and the music. What a fabulous sense of community. Understandably you need to work with the community that also live down there too. Use your heads and do this right, this shouldn't be a one sided issue and hitting the businesses with too many fees and regulations will just force it to dissappear and we will too.
Frank December 11, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Figuratively speaking, Kathleen Cummings dipped the french fry into your ketchup, took a bite, and dipped it in again. YUCK! Yes, Kathleen Cummings is dipping her fingers into the taxpayers by taking a pay check as City Alderperson, and taking a second pay check as County Supervisor, for representing the same area. YUCK! Cummings also seems to dip her fingers into other areas, like being against the Five Diamonds Family Baseball, and Cummings is against Freeman Friday Night Live. Would someone in district 9 PLEASE sign up to replace Cummings as Alderperson!!! Forms are now available in city hall and must be returned before January. STOP Cummings from double dipping!
Shay Johnson December 14, 2012 at 03:13 PM
The Downtown is a great City Center again. Friday Night Live, Art Fest, Santa Run, Farmers Market, Christmas Parade, Memorial Day Parade, Carroll's Homecoming Parade, and the Fourth of July Parade all events which bring people to the Downtown why does Cummings want to stop these events? In the history of the City of Waukesha we have never been sued for a community event. At these events people are able to find bathrooms. The Chief of Police hasn’t requested an ordinance because the events do not put undo costs on his department. Yet Cummings persists in putting forth excessive regulations through License and Ordinance Committee. Isn’t there anyone in Cummings district who will run for alderman? This nonsense needs to stop. Actions speak louder than words and Cummings actions have said enough. If you care for any of those events you will oppose any Alderman who pushes for a more restrictive Street Ordinance. Perhaps, Cummings is motivated by the person who texts her what to say at the Common Council meetings. Time to vote Cummings out of all public office and the puppeteer who texts her and stop unnecessary and excessive costs and regulations they propose. Know the consequences a new ordinance will achieve, it is meant to put an end to Freeman Friday Nights by pushing excessive costs upon the event, it will effect every other event as well. Say no to Cummings and a new street ordinance. Call your alderman and say no to a new Street Ordinance.

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