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Flexibility proposed for licensed outdoor areas

Fencing wouldn’t necessarily be required for outdoor areas licensed for alcohol

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – Outdoor areas licensed to have alcohol in them wouldn’t necessarily have to have a fence around the perimeter under a proposed village ordinance amendment being forwarded for final approval later this month by the Ashwaubenon village board.

The measure received the backing Tuesday, April 3, of the village’s Public Works and Protection Committee, which also included hours for regulating noise outdoors for specific days of the week.

Village Manager Allison Swanson said the main issue for amending the village code is the development in areas zoned for sports and entertainment, where there is a closer setback to be able to build up to the right of way and have outdoor patios.

“While the outdoor licensed area needs to be clearly defined, we would like to encourage enclosures such as decorative planters or other creative means rather than fencing, particularly as we bring buildings closer to the street and sidewalk,” Swanson said in a report to the committee. “We do not want lots of fencing along sidewalks, so this would allow for other creative solutions.”

Swanson said the ordinance amendment would provide flexibility for outdoor areas, rather than requiring a solid wall or fence in an urban setting.

Under the proposed amendment, a licensee for an outdoor area where alcohol is allowed would have to submit a plan defining the licensed area that includes how the perimeter “will be defined with planters, decorative fencing or other similar materials, exterior signage, and security of any exterior entry point(s) into the proposed area.”

The village’s chief of public safety, or the chief’s designee, would have the sole discretion in approving a licensed outdoor area.

The proposed amendment also calls for required signage, such as stating no carryouts are allowed outside of the licensed outdoor area, or other similar verbiage approved by the chief of public safety or the chief’s designee.

Being that outdoor music is becoming more popular, Swanson said the proposed amendment takes that into consideration with the nearby neighborhoods.

Currently music is not allowed in outdoor licensed areas of the village after 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and after 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. No outdoor music is allowed in those areas on Sunday.
The amendment would not allow music with any electric sound amplification after 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and after 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

However, Swanson noted music that is not amplified, such as an acoustic guitar, could continue for an hour longer than allowed for amplified music as long as “the noise is not unreasonably loud beyond the property boundaries so as to tend to cause or provoke a disturbance.”

When asked what might constitute being “unreasonably loud,” Swanson said that could include people calling to complain about hearing music from where they live a half of a mile away.

To regulate when outdoor music could begin, Swanson said committee members added language not to allow outdoor music before 7 a.m. each day.

An unlicensed outdoor area adjacent to and used in conjunction with the licensed premises could not be used for the purpose of serving or consuming alcoholic beverages, but would have to comply with the noise restrictions included in the proposed amendment.

The measure will be up for final approval April 24 by the village board.

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