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City considers changes to beer fence ordinance

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By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Members of the city’s public health and safety committee are proposing changes to the city’s longstanding “beer fence” ordinance, though the new rules would only impact four event locations in Wausau.

Under the current rules, events in which beer or wine are sold require either a 7-foot fence or two 4-foot fences surrounding the point of sale. Supporters of the fencing regulations say the enclosures ensure alcohol is not sold to anyone underage, while helping manage security for large-scale events.

But event planners for years have bemoaned the regulations as costly and unwieldy, and other critics say alcohol consumption can be monitored in other ways.

The proposed changes eliminate the fencing requirement at four locations, three of which are spots where Wausau Events holds activities: The 400 Block, Wausau Downtown Airport, Athletic Park and Isle of Ferns Park. The group stopped short of repealing the ordinance altogether, as some cities across Wisconsin have chosen to do in recent years.

The changes would clear the way to eliminate fencing for events such as the International Ginseng Festival, the first of which was held in September at The 400 Block. Next year’s event is planned for September 14-16, 2018.

The committee on Monday voted unanimously to amend the city’s ordinance, which now moves to the full council for final approval.

 

 

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