Castle Rock eyes common consumption for downtown

Councilmembers hope to boost local business amid pandemic

Jessica Gibbs
jgibbs@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/9/20

Could Castle Rock residents soon carry alcoholic beverages from bar to bar in the downtown, or enjoy a cold one while relaxing in Festival Park? The Town of Castle Rock is looking into creating a …

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Castle Rock eyes common consumption for downtown

Councilmembers hope to boost local business amid pandemic

Posted

Could Castle Rock residents soon carry alcoholic beverages from bar to bar in the downtown, or enjoy a cold one while relaxing in Festival Park?

The Town of Castle Rock is looking into creating a temporary entertainment district, making way for public consumption of alcohol in certain parts of downtown in a bid to support small and local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The town council asked staff to continue exploring options for common consumption after a June 2 briefing on the matter.

Both Mayor Jason Gray and Mayor Pro Tem Jason Bower said they hoped the move could be a temporary, emergency measure to boost a local economy stymied by COVID-19.

“We’re just trying to figure out how to help businesses get through this time,” Gray told Colorado Community Media on June 5.

Town Clerk Lisa Anderson said the town is already working with numerous businesses to modify their licenses by allowing food service establishments to expand into parking lots or outdoor areas.

“We’ve been working with the state and we’re getting those turned around in two to three days,” she said.

Staff offered Union American Bistro as an example. Outside the downtown eatery, white tents are set up in parking spaces and more tables line the sidewalk outside the restaurant’s patio.

Anderson told council the town code would need to be modified to allow an entertainment district. It would be the responsibility of liquor license holders in the area to propose boundaries for an entertainment district, an operational plan and a security plan.

Licensees would then need to form a promotional association board comprised of at least two liquor license holders and two other businesses based in the entertainment district. That board would be responsible for managing a common consumption area, she said, not the town.

Within an entertainment district, the town could designate various areas for common consumption.

Anderson said that would allow patrons to purchase an alcoholic beverage from a business participating in the entertainment district and then carry it to a another common consumption area.

The Downtown Alliance would be meeting with business owners that week to see if there was interest among the business community in moving the plan forward, Anderson said.

Gov. Jared Polis has suggested cities and counties consider restaurant seating on sidewalks, parking lots and streets, and expand operations on a restaurant’s property or an adjacent property with landowner permission.

Mayor Gray said there is confusion around what the state is allowing when it comes to relaxing liquor laws and urged staff to get more clarity.

“We would like to have as much leeway as possible but we don’t want to get sideways with the government either,” Gray said.

Gray said he does not know how long the common consumption areas would remain in effect if the town ends up implementing them. That depends “on how long it takes for restaurants to rebound,” he said, whether that be one month or one year.

He also doubts the measures would bring rowdy behavior to the area.

“This is not a college town; this is not Bourbon Street,” Gray said. “I don’t think we are going to have people partying in the streets.”

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