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Are neighborhood difficulties brewing at the ALRC for Next Door Brewing?
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Income at Next Door Brewing is projected as 40% from alcohol, 55% food, and 5% "other."
Credit:Linda Falkenstein

While the beer world may be excited about Keith Symonds' proposed new pub and nanobrewery named Next Door Brewing, intended for a former appliance repair storefront at 2439 Atwood Ave., neighbors are decidedly less enthusiastic. Emails to the city from nearby residents regarding Next Door (attached to the license application as part of a packet of materials (PDF) for ALRC members to review) expressed both reservations and support for the fledgling business; however, negatives far outweighed the positives. Next Door's license comes up for discussion before the ALRC this Wednesday.

Concerns raised by neighbors include noise, odors, lighting, parking and hours of operation. Some of the concerns regarding parking, noise, and increased traffic are detailed at considerable length. Several writers felt that the representatives of Next Door at a neighborhood meeting did not "take the neighborhood's concerns very seriously." Some writers ultimately feel that the neighborhood "does not need another bar" and that the number of bars in residential neighborhoods should be limited.

Several writers cite the troubled past of the Africana Restaurant (a space now occupied by Stalzy's Deli), which also featured entertainment. The overriding sentiment is that Next Door cannot be allowed to impact the neighborhoods's quality of life they assert that Africana did.

Documents that Next Door has filed with the city describe the establishment as a "restaurant with a nano-brewery" that will have full table service and a menu of "sandwiches, salads, and simple entrees." Income is projected as 40% from alcohol, 55% food, and 5% "other."

Neighbors writing to the city express a desire for conditions placed on the license, including no hard liquor, no outdoor seating, no outdoor music, no amplified music, limited special events, state-of-the-art exhaust fans to limit food and brewing odors, soundproofing of the roof, construction of a sound-barrier back fence, neighborhood-sensitive lighting in the parking lot, early closing hours (suggested hours vary, but some mentioned are as early as 9 p.m. on weeknights and 10 p.m. on weekends), and a greenspace plan.

Parking is an even thornier issue. One writer suggests limiting capacity of Next Door to not much over the number of parking stalls in Next Door's lot -- "20" is the suggestion. On-street parking is already limited and usually full in the area, neighbors note.

Supporters of Next Door underline that it will improve a now-vacant property and will create jobs. Another writer praises the cooperative nature of the owners. A note from the Madison Police Department states that "the East District does not have any concerns with this application."

Judging from the emails, there is likely to be forceful testimony at Wednesday night's ALRC meeting (PDF) regarding the brewpub's licensing.

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