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Street closures denied in Central City for special events blocking traffic

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City Council debates special events increased noise and application dates

By David Josselyn

Work Session

Council met with Staff for two work sessions prior to the regular meeting; one at 2:00 pm for their first budget meeting and another at 6:07 pm for a discussion on an Energy Action Plan (EAP). Representatives from the Brendle Group, Sarah Martin and Shelby Sommer, and from Xcel Energy, Channing Evans, addressed council on affordable energy and energy conservation while preserving the unique historic character of the community.

Regular Council Meeting

Mayor Fey convened the regular meeting at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members Jeff Aiken, Judy Laratta, Jackie Johnson, Jack Hidahl, and Mayor Jeremy Fey were present.

Mayor Fey led the Pledge of Allegiance and then asked for any amendments or additions to the evening’s agenda. There were no changes.

Mayor Fey asked if there were any conflicts of interest for any member of the council. There were no conflicts expressed.

Consent Agenda

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the September 1 meeting and regular bill lists through September 3.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderman Aiken and Alderwoman Johnson simultaneously. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on the night’s agenda. One person chose to address Council.

Joe Behm, Executive Direction of the BID, commented on Ordinance 20-12 which was added to the agenda on Monday, September 14. The Ordinance amends the Municipal Code regarding special event permits and affects the noise ordinance and noticing of street closures. He warned that regarding the decibel issue, the City of Golden struggled with the same question. Enforcement is difficult when an accurate measurement is required. Officers would need additional equipment and training to measure levels. Behm used the Buffalo Rose which was known for loud concerts, as an example, saying it is hard to get accurate decibel readings. Behm also commented on the required noticing of special events to business owners that the Ordinance appears to require comments from business owners “after” a permit is approved, which seems backwards.

New Business

Council considered action on two resolutions, one ordinance, and one request to close Main Street for a special event.

Still an Emergency

Manager Miera introduced Resolution 20-33 which would extend the local declaration of emergency through Wednesday, October 7, 2020.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 20-33 and was seconded by Alderman Aiken. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Special Event Permits

Director Rears introduced Ordinance 20-12 which would amend certain provisions of the Municipal Code regarding noise and special event permits.

Changes to the noise ordinance include mandating special event applicants to also request an allowance for an increase in allowable decibel levels and are subject to approval by the City Council.

Changes to the special event permits include changing the minimum application date to forty-five days prior to the event (used to be fifteen); also, if the event is to be held within the Business Improvement District, the applicant must provide written notice to property owners fronting the streets at least forty days prior to the start of the event. The notice shall request that comments of property owners and the BID be directed to the coordinator at least 30 days prior to the event.

Alderman Hidahl called the Ordinance “overly bureaucratic” and called for “at least” a work session to work on the Ordinance saying it is not ready for Council action. Council agreed that more work was needed and requested a work session prior to the second reading. Due to the work sessions dedicated to budgets, the second reading will be no earlier than November 3, 2020.

Mayor Fey called the Ordinance “an overreaction.”

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the first reading of Ordinance 20-12 and set the second hearing and public forum for Tuesday, November 3 “or later” and was seconded by Alderman Hidahl. The motion passed four to one with Mayor Fey voting against.

City Sidewalks

Director Hoover introduced Resolution 20-34 which would award a bid for a concrete flatwork project to AFAB Contracting and authorize the City Manager to execute the contract. The project will replace or install sidewalks along Spring Street and a short segment on Nevada Street in front of City Hall. The City received five bids for review and chose AFAB. Even though capital projects had been frozen for the year due to the economic impact of the pandemic, this project was deemed one of public safety and necessary to complete. Alderman Aiken stated that walking along Spring Street can be dangerous. Alderman Hidahl was conflicted because the Council is trying to save funds, but the project is necessary.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 20-34 and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The motion passed four to one with Alderman Hidahl voting against.

Request for Street Closures

Council next entertained approval of a special event permit, the Plein Aire Art Event, which would temporarily close a section of Eureka Street in front of the Central City Opera House on Saturday September 26 and Sunday, September 27. Each closure would last about one hour.

Alderman Aiken commented that he is concerned by the timing of the closure, especially on Sunday (from 1:45pm to 3:00pm), and could foresee and huge line on Eureka Street waiting for it to reopen. The Sunday closure is for an Opera performance in the garden area and the Saturday closure is for the Quick Draw event in which increased foot traffic creates added safety issues.

Alderman Hidahl commented that he supports both events, but he doesn’t think “we can do this” and close the street that long on a weekend.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to deny the application and was seconded by Alderman Aiken. The motion passed unanimously.

Commentary from Council

Alderwoman Laratta commented that there are several dead pine trees on Nevada and on Pine Street that has her concerned. Director Hoover responded that Public Works is taking out dead trees in the City and has not gotten to that section yet.

Mayor Fey commented that free firewood is available to the public at the Boodle Mill Park every day on a first come, first serve basis.

Alderman Aiken commented that there are numerous vehicle crashes when coming down Nevada Street and perhaps lowering the speed limit to five miles per hour would reduce the number of accidents.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda. No one chose to address council.

Mark your Calendars

Council entered Executive Session at 8:39 pm regarding water rights concerning an agreement to furnish augmentation water. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

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