The city of Durango will be more transparent in sharing local licensing documents with the public, city officials said.
Last month, The Durango Herald highlighted differences between the city and La Plata County in access to licensing documents used to decide whether to give applicants a liquor or medical marijuana business license.
“I think going forward in the future, we’ll do a better job of making this available to the public,” City Manager Ron LeBlanc said.
The differences in style again were evident when the city and the county considered liquor license requests this month.
The La Plata Board of County Commissioners voted earlier this month to approve the transfer of a liquor license held by the Schank House Bar & Grill to Schank House. James and Charlene Schank reorganized their organization and were transferring their hotel and liquor license to the new corporation. The Durango Local Licensing Board voted last week to approve the location change of Cocktails & Creations LLC.
The county included the application and other documentation that were available immediately online as part of the application packet and free of charge. The city previously has not released that information except through an open-records request and has classified criminal background checks that board members review as “criminal-justice records” exempted by state law from public viewing.
Durango didn’t include any public documents for this application in its agenda packet and required an open-records request. The Herald waited two days and paid $9.17 for the documents.
Both governments included memos from law-enforcement agencies that indicated there were no criminal background issues. Susan Medina, spokeswoman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said the background reports they produce for cities and counties access a FBI database and are confidential by law.
Despite the county having the public documents, including application documents and individual history records as part of its agenda packet online, the documents had additional redactions that had no legal basis under the open records law for removing. The county application had some basic personal information about the applicants redacted, such as height, weight, eye color, sex and race.
Paul Kosnik of the County Attorney’s Office said the county has received feedback from applicants not wanting all of their personal information on the website. The personal information, except for what’s required to be withheld by law, is available through an open-records request.