The Madison Alcohol License Review Committee recommended approval early Thursday morning to grant a license to The Edgewater Hotel that would allow it to continue hosting concerts and live entertainment events.
The Downtown hotel was told by the city in July to cease certain events, including its popular live summer concert series on a public plaza that overlooks Lake Mendota, as the business has failed to hold an entertainment license since reopening in 2014.
Around 1:40 a.m. after hours of public testimony and deliberation that began Wednesday evening, the committee voted 3-1 to approve an entertainment license with five conditions.
Committee members Patrick Grady, Stefan Fletcher and Kathryn Hill voted in favor of the license and Ald. Mike Verveer against it.
The conditions on the license were largely a compromise between resident concerns about the noise generated from the hotel's outside entertainment and a plan the Edgewater, 1001 Wisconsin Place, submitted itself detailing its preferred number of outdoor events, decibel levels and other specifics.
The City Council will vote on the license Oct. 3.
"We've worked very hard to come up with what is a workable solution," said Amy Supple, general manager of Edgewater.
An entertainment license allows for live music, disc jockeys or a designated dance floor area.
While the hotel was asking for around 55 public outdoor events per year, the committee settled on 35 events through next June when the Edgewater would be back up for a renewal process. Private outdoor events would be exempt from the limit.
Both figures were far more than the 15 gatherings Ald. Ledell Zellers, whose district includes the hotel, was hoping to be the cap.
"The Edgewater does have some very desirable, wonderful events," Zellers said. "These wonderful events are really only wonderful if you can choose whether to go or not go, if you can choose when you can leave, when to listen."
Supple said any limitations on events less than what the hotel had proposed "would cost significant financial harm to the our business."
The Edgewater also sought an 80 decibel limit for its outdoor events to be measured at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Langdon Street, but the committee dropped that number to 70 decibels in response to concerns of impacted city residents.
"At 80 decibels, our home is uninhabitable," said James McFadden, who lives across the street from the hotel. "We're basically forced out of our home by noise."
Supple said concerts typically operate below 80 decibels, but the Edgewater was asking for leeway to account for environmental conditions, such as wind.
Another condition requires the hotel to use a collapsible band shell or large tent during all events outside, which the Edgewater had already intended to do.
In 2014, the hotel had been approved for an entertainment license, but it never paid the $300 fee to receive it. The Edgewater was informed on July 3 about the lack of the license and that several of its events had been held illegally.