Winter Park allows expanded businesses for COVID-19 | SkyHiNews.com
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Winter Park allows expanded businesses for COVID-19

Cooper Creek Square Cooper Creek Square in Winter Park, home to several restaurants and retailers, will have the chance to expand outdoor seating this summer thanks to an emergency ordinance the town passed to give businesses more flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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In a pre-emptive effort to allow businesses to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, Winter Park is temporarily repealing some town regulations and suspending some fees.

After Grand County submitted its variance request to the state, which is still waiting to be approved, the Winter Park Town Council asked staff to prepare an emergency ordinance to give businesses more flexibility to navigate social distancing and safety precautions when they reopen. Council passed the emergency ordinance Tuesday.

The ordinance does not supersede state or county orders, Mayor Nick Kutrumbos emphasized. Rather, it gives businesses time to set up alternatives when they’re allowed to reopen.

“We don’t know what kind of creativity we’re going to see,” said Kutrumbos, who also owns Deno’s Mountain Bistro. 

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A major change the emergency ordinance allows is for businesses to expand their patios without having to go through the entire design review process, so long as the patio is temporary.

So while businesses would still have to get a permit and building review, they wouldn’t have to worry about paying the permit fee for a patio extension or meeting parking requirements.

The town will also allow businesses to apply for a liquor license expansion to extend the ability to serve alcohol to a new space contiguous to the existing property. Currently, the state is offering a temporary $150 fee for extending liquor licenses that lasts 120 days.

“You can’t just cross the parking lot and all of a sudden be in the (expanded patio),” Town Clerk Danielle Jardee explained.

Aside from patio expansions, the emergency ordinance also temporarily repeals the town’s single-use bag fee and permits businesses to put signage on the sidewalk that doesn’t impede pedestrian access.

The emergency ordinance expires Oct. 31, unless the council extends it. For any businesses wanting to make permanent changes, they would have to go through the entire building and design review process.

In other business:

  • In the workshop prior to the council meeting, members discussed what the town might do for the Fourth of July. The Fraser Winter Park Chamber canceled its in-person fireworks celebration due to the state’s ban on gatherings, but suggested a front porch Fourth of July celebration instead. While council members were eager to celebrate the holiday, they raised concerns about crowds gathering despite it being a stay-at-home  event. The council requested the chamber work with the police department to see how enforcement might work for a stay-at-home event.
  • Council adopted the state’s 2020 traffic code following a second reading and some discussion about the code outlining a prima facie speed limit of 20 mph in town.
  • The town’s new liquor licensing authority on alleged violations will be in the hands of the municipal court judge after council approved an ordinance stating such.
  • Boutique hotels are now an approved use for property in the town’s C1 zoning district, which encompasses Old Town.
  • Council waived all town fees associated with building the town’s new public works facility. The facility will still pay an impact fee to the East Grand Fire District for the difference in size of the new facility compared to the previous building.
  • After some discussion about excess costs, the council approved an amended change order for the public works facility to pay for gas shut-off during construction, excess dirt hauling and added washer and dryer hookups. The council did not approve the change order request for a $37,000 trash enclosure, noting it could be added later when the town’s financials aren’t under pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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