Winter Park Council OKs bear ordinance 4-3 on first reading |

Winter Park Council OKs bear ordinance 4-3 on first reading

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

In an effort to stop hungry bears from tearing through garbage within the town limits, Winter Park Town Council gave its qualified approval at its Tuesday meeting to a proposed ordinance that would ban the feeding of wildlife including new rules on trash disposal.

By a 4-3 vote, Ordinance No. 409 passed on first reading. The proposed ordinance will require Winter Park residents to use “wildlife-proof” trash containers and Dumpster enclosures to prevent the “inadvertent or otherwise” feeding wildlife.

Before the ordinance goes into effect, it must go through a public hearing and receive the trustees’ approval during a second reading scheduled at the council’s next meeting on July 15.

In presenting the proposed ordinance, Police Chief Glen Trainor said the town had to come up with a solution because of the “increasing number of bear complaints” within the town limits. He said within the last couple of years, his officers have responded to “many, many calls” involving bears tearing through trash. So far in 2008, his department has dealt with eight complaints, he said.

Under the proposed ordinance, residents will be required to use “wildlife-resistant refuse containers” or keep the their trash inside a house or garage at all times.

Residents using curbside pickup of their trash will be allowed to place those containers at the curb, alley or public right of way from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the scheduled pickup day.

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The only other option to store refuse outside is within a “wildlife-resistant enclosure” that must have four sides and a secure door or cover with a latching device to prevent access by wildlife.

Along with a prohibition against “inadvertent” feeding of bears by leaving trash and garbage lying around outside, the proposed ordinance also bans deliberate feeding of wildlife with the exception of bird feeders. However, it will require that bird feeders be “suspended on a cable or other device so that they are inaccessible to bears” between April 15 and Nov. 15.

Trainor argued the use of these wildlife-resistant and wildlife-proof containers and enclosures would “discourage bears” from entering the community where they would pose a “nuisance and menace to property and the health, safety and welfare of citizens.” He explained the ordinance was based on a similar one in Vail that had “tremendous success in cleaning up its bear problem.”

Some members of the audience expressed concerns about enacting such an ordinance, saying it might be better handled by homeowners associations and business/condominium owners. One woman said residents “did not need Big Brother in everything” and worried that police officers would be entering private property to enforce compliance.

Trainor countered that his officers would not be “inspecting properties” for violations. They would only be enforcing the ordinance where its violation posed a real threat to public health and safety.

Buckets fined

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Trainor announced that an agreement had been reached between the town and Brew Crew Inc. over the liquor license violations at Buckets.

That bar, located in downtown Winter Park, had received summons for selling alcohol to underage persons in recent months.

Under the agreement, Buckets was going to receive a 10-day suspension of its liquor license. However, the town agreed to allow Buckets parent company Brew Crew Inc. to pay a fine in lieu of suspension.

That fine is $664.16 or the equivalent of 20 percent of the bar’s estimated gross revenues for five days of the suspension. The other five days of suspension are “held in abeyance” for one year, pending no further violations of the Colorado Liquor Code.

In presenting the agreement, Trainor praised Brew Crew Inc. owner Juliana Feltz for her cooperation in “partnering” with his department.

Feltz also spoke before the council, saying Buckets was “really working hard” to assist the police in “keeping drunks off the street.” She said that part of their effort is to better train employees to help prevent future violations.

New stop sign

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the town council unanimously approved a request by residents for the placing of a three-way stop sign at the intersection of Alpine Way and Arapahoe Road. The residents claimed vehicles were speeding down Arapahoe Road and placing their children at risk.

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