Mount Horeb alley causes rift between businesses, raises question of fair use

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 10:19 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Businesses in the Village of Mount Horeb are split on the use of a shared alley. The three establishments, Skal Public House, Grumpy Troll Brew Pub and Trail This Bicycle Shop, are connected by the alley.

For the past two years, Skal has used the alley as a patio in the summer months, when the business outgrows its indoor space. The public house has received year-long leases from the village board to use the patio, which sited the pandemic as a special circumstance to allow the lease.

As the pandemic continues, owners Brian and Kim Ladow, hope to use the alley once again.

“We approached the village board and said we will be needing this yet again,” said Ladow.

But neighboring businesses are pushing back on the move. Ladow says the bike shop (which declined to comment on the story) says the patio blocks deliveries.

“I’m not saying that there isn’t a conflict of people getting deliveries in and out, but it’s never because of our alley being in place,” said Ladow.

Ladow added the street on the other side of the alley can be accessed for deliveries. He says the part of the alley Skal uses for a patio is the only place they can put one, and the compromise involves setting up and tearing down the patio each week, something he does not have the manpower to accommodate.

For owners like Robin Pharo, the owner of the Grumpy Troll, it is a matter of keeping things fair for every business in Mount Horeb.

“We want everything done, in the village above board, across all businesses,” said Pharo.

She said if a shared space is going to be used, every business and the needs of the business must be considered.

“The alley usage should be equally applied to any business that has an alley and have equal rules across everyone that has the possibility of using an alley,” said Pharo.

The businesses met on Feb. 2 with the village board and on Monday for a private compromise meeting. A third meeting with the Community Development Authority is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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