Cortez officials are expected to review a draft ordinance Tuesday night that would allow downtown businesses to offer outdoor dining and alcohol consumption.
According to the proposed three-page legislation, downtown business owners would be permitted to apply for a license, granting them permission to serve both food and alcohol on city sidewalks. The ordinance would be subject to a public hearing before final passage.
Cortez city councilors will review the draft ordinance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cortez City Hall.
KSJD director Jeff Pope initially approached the city with the idea, requesting the city to draft an ordinance. He declined to comment last week, saying that it was premature to discuss an issue that has yet to be considered by municipal officials.
In a memorandum to City Manager Shane Hale, police chief Roy Lane and other department heads, city attorney Mike Green said that the annual licenses would require an undisclosed fee. In Telluride, businesses pay up to $6 per square foot annually in addition to application fees.
The proposed legislation states that fine dining and entertainment were not only central to the downtown experience, but it could also foster and expand that experience. Consistent with the city’s master plan, downtown outdoor dining would help promote a walking environment for tourists and others.
If approved, Main Street business owners would be allowed to apply for a license only if granted permission by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the actual owner of the property.
The discretionary outdoor dining licenses would be limited to businesses that could maintain a minimum of 4 feet of sidewalk space for pedestrian traffic. Barriers no more than 42 inches high would also be a requirement.