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Glenwood Springs City Council takes steps to help local businesses

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Glenwood Springs City Council took a couple of steps Thursday night designed to help local businesses through the winter.

Council voted to allow alcohol consumption in designated areas in the city and to extend the suspension of sign code regulations indefinitely.

In keeping with Gov. Jared Polis’ entreaty for municipalities to find ways to help restaurants during the winter, city staff drafted an ordinance allowing city manager Debra Figueroa to temporarily allow the consumption of alcohol in designated public areas within the General Improvement District.

The intention of the alcohol ordinance is to allow the establishment of communal dining areas where customers could take to-go food and drink as an alternative to inside dining. 

Two examples of where these areas could be set up are under the Grand Avenue Bridge or in the garden area next to the pedestrian bridge, according to the staff report prepared for the council packet. 

Councilors were receptive to the idea, only to up the ante, deciding that the entire city should be fair game, not just the General Improvement District, which is generally downtown on the south side of the Colorado River.

Councilor Shelley Kaup said that growing up in New Orleans she’s accustomed to less restrictions on the consumption of alcohol.

“I’m comfortable if anyone else on council is to open it up to the whole city,” she said.

Councilor Charlie Willman made the motion to pass the ordinance applicable to the entire city, with Councilor Steve Davis seconding. The motion passed unanimously with Councilor Paula Stepp absent.

Staff will still need to work with restaurants and the Downtown Development Authority to determine how to properly keep those areas clean and regularly disinfected, the staff report said. 

Earlier in the summer, council passed Resolution 2020-24 to suspend sign code regulations until the end of October. The idea was to allow businesses a little more opportunity to advertise themselves during the pandemic than would normally be allowed.

Assistant city manager Jenn Ooton said in a follow-up email that a couple of examples of businesses taking advantage of the relaxed regulations are Hookers at 719 Grand Ave., which had a banner for their business and a banner thanking firefighters, when normally only one banner would be allowed; and Jimmy John’s using smaller campaign-style signs.

City attorney Karl Hanlon explained to council that Resolution 2020-32 is the same as the previous one except it doesn’t have an expiration date.

Mayor Jonathan Godes reiterated his concern form the Oct. 1 council meeting that the city could see large campaign signs.

Hanlon, who is running against Bob Rankin for state senate, said that so far in the current election season there have been no problems with outsized campaign signs.

Davis moved to adopt the resolution with Councilor Tony Hershey seconding, and the motion passed unanimously.

cwertheim@postindependent.com


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