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Waukesha Mayor Issues ‘Friendly’ Veto Over Street Closure Ordinance

Jeff Scrima vetoes ordinance over concerns from Freeman Friday Night Live Committee.

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 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.”

Zabular Cranton February 08, 2013 at 08:10 PM
It is time for our current mayor to listen to his council. They clearly have much more intelligence than he does. Let's see, Jeff goes to school 1 week a year and I went to school full time for 5 years. Give me a break. And as for the "corner establishments" it is about time for them to try to understand what the other establishments have to put up with when their streets are closed. We no longer will step into the "corner establishments" anymore.
wisdom February 08, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Sarah, thank you for attaching the actual veto message to this article. Reading it helps bring perspective. Hopefully the Common Council will listen to the organizers of Freeman Friday Night Live, adjust this ordinance accordingly, and keep this wonderful Waukesha event alive!
Chris B February 08, 2013 at 10:29 PM
This ordinance affects the whole city, not just downtown . I believe that better defintions may be needed, but I do no think that one event should be the driver of the ordinance.
Waukesha Old Timer February 08, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Freeman Friday Night Live is was brought the downtown back to life!!! Let's not go backwards now. The downtown is unique from other areas of the city and is intended for cultural and entertainment events. The Common Council can and should do a better job by clarifying this ordinance.
Skip Wieserman February 08, 2013 at 11:51 PM
It's all about power Chris. Now with the BID dissolving, just wait until the ramifications of that are felt...
Skip Wieserman February 08, 2013 at 11:55 PM
@wisdom: Ironically your name fits the bill. Common sense and wisdom dictates that clarity is necessary in order to prevent unnecessary litigation and headaches... I really wish that EVERYONE downtown could just set their differences aside and get along and work together for the benefit of downtown.
barium February 09, 2013 at 12:00 AM
We don't need judgmental, intolerant, mean-spirited hate-speech like from Zabular - knock it off! Cool heads can prevail, with the mayor using his good judgment in consultation with business leaders and the aldermen..
barium February 09, 2013 at 12:00 AM
We don't need judgmental, intolerant, mean-spirited hate-speech like from Zabular - knock it off! Cool heads can prevail, with the mayor using his good judgment in consultation with business leaders and the aldermen..
N Schmidt February 09, 2013 at 12:37 AM
barium used "the mayor" and "good judgement" in the same sentence, that was funny!!!!! hahahahahahhahahaha. hahahahahahhah. But the rest of that post is mostly insane. Have a great night!
Jennifer February 09, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Those who personally attack the mayor are attempting to create a diversion away from his veto message. The veto message, which Sarah attached as a PDF to the article, is written to protect the future of Freeman Friday Night Live. Read it. The future of Freeman Friday Night Live is at stake! I agree with Waukesha Old Timer.
michelle February 09, 2013 at 05:38 AM
I went to the Friday Night Live last summer. I had a wonderful time.
Alicia Rodriguez Silva February 09, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Tolerance and respect are not taught in a school...all groups should work together in the best interest of our community. We love Friday Night Live and what it has done for the community- it brings people together. If some things need tweaking, there should be discussion.

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