Glenwood Springs City Council votes to return to 2019 outdoor dining requirements
Outdoor dining requirements and fees will be reverting back to pre-pandemic prices following a Glenwood Springs City Council vote on Thursday night.
Council members approved a motion to accept staff’s recommendation of returning to the 2019 dining requirements, which allow the outdoor dining areas to keep the expanded area near the Grand Avenue Bridge and restrict the parklets to the same requirements of patios.
Parklets are parking spaces that have been converted to outdoor dining spaces.
By restricting parklets to the same requirements of patios, the outdoor dining spaces are kept immediately in front of the businesses, unless written approval is provided by neighboring businesses to expand.
There are currently 18 active outdoor dining leases, three of which have used parklets in the right of way over the past year. Fifteen of those leases are set to expire on Sept. 30. Businesses with leases would have to reapply under the approved requirements.
The city charges a fee of $1.75 per square foot and an application fee of $75 for using public sidewalks or public plaza areas. Each lease is renewed annually on the anniversary date the application was approved.
In May 2020, the City Council extended these waivers through Dec. 31, 2020, due to the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis.
“Council also approved the construction of ‘parklets’ in the public right of way and the expansion of existing dining and liquor premises,” meeting documents state.
“Because the waiver has expired, moving forward, the city will be charging the lease and application fees with the renewals. This would include extended areas near the Grand Avenue Bridge and Bethel Plaza, keeping the requirement for a hood inspection by the Fire Marshal.”
Staff was also seeking City Council guidance on the continued use of parklets in the public right of way, which include Masala and Curry and Rocky Mountain Pizza.
“The 2019 outdoor patio regulations restrict use to the area immediately in front of a business. The parklets during the pandemic, however, were allowed to expand into more than one parking stall, with a letter of support from the neighboring business,” meeting packets state.
Masala and Curry owner Steve Nieslanik thanked the council for letting the restaurant use those parklets.
“We came through pretty good because we had a lot of take out, but it sure helps to have that additional seating. I would ask that council renew that,” Nieslanik said, adding that the restaurant left the outdoor dining areas out during wintertime, which caused issues during snow removal.
“My suggestion for our two parklets is that we take them out during October or November and put them back up maybe in March,” Nieslanik said. “Free or not free, I think we’d be very interested in leasing that space.”
Council voted 6-1 to approve staff’s recommendations, with Mayor Jonathan Godes voting against the motion.
Godes voted no, saying he would rather maintain the current waivers and requirements.
“I think more outdoor dining is better,” Godes said.
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or email@example.com.
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