Public Intoxication in Town Park  Drawing Complaints
by Gus Jarvis
Aug 13, 2012 | 1923 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print

TELLURIDE – There seemed to be consensus at Tuesday’s meeting of the Telluride Town Council that the allowance of open alcohol containers in Town Park has created a noticeable increase in  public intoxication for “transients,” causing some parents to rethink allowing their children to play at the playgrounds in the park.

“I want to draw your attention to a recent change this summer in the energy and dynamic in Town Park, to more of a transient nature in Town Park,” resident Travis Julia told members of council during the public comment portion of the meeting. “In the Town Park tent area, or what I call the ‘bra,’ it’s more like a bar scene there.”

Julia went on to say that he supports an open container law, especially when people are sitting back and watching a softball game, but as it is now, the intoxication-fueled language and ambiance at the park – often early in the day – does not make for a child-friendly environment.

“I wouldn’t bring my kids into a bar at 12 at night,” Julia said, “because of the conversations and energy there.

“When you walk into the entrance of the park, people are three sheets to the wind. It’s unfortunate.”

In response, Mayor Stu Fraser said various members of council have individually discussed the issue and it will soon be taken up by the Telluride Parks and Recreation Commission for a recommendation.

“It will be dealt with sooner or later,” said Mayor Stu Fraser.

“We will be discussing it,” added Councilor Thom Carnevale.

Council Deadlocked on Horizontal Zoning Language Clarifications

With a 3-3 Telluride Town Council deadlocked, recommendations from the Telluride Planning and Zoning Commission to clarify the language of the town’s Horizontal Zoning regulations were not adopted on Tuesday, and the regulations in the Land Use Code will remain as written.

The ordinance before council that would, if approved, have amended the LUC to revise Horizontal Zoning regulations had no impact on the current allowable service commercial threshold on main street of 625 lineal feet. It would have clarified the LUC’s language on the matter that, in some instances had been recommended by P&Z, all with an eye to making the LUC  easier to understand.

With Councilor Brian Werner absent at Tuesday’s meeting, approval of the ordinance failed on a 3-3 tie.

“It doesn’t pass, we will stay with what we’ve got,” Mayor Stu Fraser said.

Unlike previous public hearings on the matter, only one Telluride real estate broker spoke out against the general idea of Horizontal Zoning.

Broker George Harvey asked council how the regulations could be repealed.

“I personally believe the marketplace is where this should be handled,” Harvey said. “I understand town councilmembers can disagree with that. What is the process if citizens want to repeal this specific ordinance?”

Town Attorney Kevin Geiger said it would take a referendum process, with between 5 and 15 percent of voters who participated in the last election signing a petition. Town council could then decide to reconsider the ordinance, and a repeal could go to ballot.

Water, Wastewater Systems Need Expensive Upgrades

The Telluride Town Council got some sobering news on Tuesday regarding the town’s aging water and wastewater systems.

Representatives of the Farnsworth Group, an engineering firm hired by the town to develop a capital asset maintenance plan for existing water and wastewater systems, went before council Tuesday to give with a report on  the condition of the systems, and a prioritized list for improvements.

“Based on the scores we use to make comparisons, your water system is in poor condition,” Farnsworth Group Senior Manager Xuehua Bai said.

The most critical area of the water system that needs upgrading is the aged spiral-steel water line that transfers water from Mill Creek to town; that section of line received an unsatisfactory score from the engineering firm.

Overall, Bai described the town’s wastewater system as fair, with several segments made of clay, as also receiving unsatisfactory scores. To fix the deficiencies of the two systems, the cost for improvements would be approximately $2.6 million. Bai noted this figure would only take care of the deficiencies, and would not completely upgrade the systems.

“The Pandora project, other than the fact it is so costly and complicated, will solve a lot of issues in terms of capacity,” Town Manager Greg Clifton said, “but we are talking about something different here, more into the maintenance category. Every community is having this discussion and wrestling with these issues and it is not unique to Telluride.”

Council Approves Event Center Tent as Possible Juke Joint Venue

The Telluride Town Council will allow the Telluride Summer Event Center tent to be home to one of the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival’s Juke Joints, following a compromise on Tuesday leading to council’s approval of an amendment to the tent’s temporary uses and structures permit.

After much debate, and despite noise concern voiced by neighbors, council agreed to allow the Telluride Summer Event Center, located at 300 East Colorado Ave., in the lot next to the U.S. Post Office, to host a musical act during two nights of the Blues and Brews Festival on Sept. 14 and 15 until 12 p.m.

Blues and Brews Festival producer Steve Gumble originally asked to use the venue on three nights during the festival until 2 a.m., but council could not come to an agreement. At the heart of the discussion was whether or not the music would break Telluride’s noise ordinance, which basically states if music is audible from 50 feet in distance, it is a  violation.

With council agreeing to allow the venue to stay open until 12 p.m., and not 2 a.m., as requested, Gumble said he would work to secure a musical act for that shortened timeframe, but that if that proved impossible, he would probably move the Juke Joint event to the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village.

Gumble said he would like to keep the festival’s Juke Joint experience in Telluride’s commercial core on main street, but that with the closure of the Llama as a venue, it’s becoming harder to do so.

First Reading Repealing Emergency Fire Ban Approved

On Tuesday the Telluride Town Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that repeals the current emergency ordinance that imposes a ban on open fires, fireworks and the restriction of smoking to within town limits.

The emergency ordinance was enacted just before the Fourth of July holiday, when drought conditions in Telluride were most severe for the summer. While the Telluride Municipal Code bans the private use of fireworks, the emergency ordinance banned the public display of fireworks for events such as the Fourth of July.

While this ordinance repeals the emergency ordinance, councilors at Tuesday’s meeting made it very clear that the private use of fireworks in Telluride remains illegal.

“Last week, the fireworks started again; I heard them three or four nights in a row,” Councilor Thom Carnevale said. “People ought to be fully aware that they are banned in Telluride.”

“We can’t afford a fire, because we don’t have the water to go put it out effectively,” Mayor Stu Fraser added.

It will take a second reading of the ordinance to officially repeal the emergency fire ban ordinance and that second reading is expected to come at the next council meeting later this month. or @GusJarvis

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