Stage set for public drinking in Parker

Highlights from town council meeting held May 6

Posted 5/21/19

Legal consumption of alcohol in public places, an increase in the metro district tax and a ballot question to redefine the term limits for Parker elected officials highlighted the May 6 town council …

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Stage set for public drinking in Parker

Highlights from town council meeting held May 6

Posted

Legal consumption of alcohol in public places, an increase in the metro district tax and a ballot question to redefine the term limits for Parker elected officials highlighted the May 6 town council meeting.

Stage set for public drinking

Parker Town Council set the stage for the legal possession and consumption of alcohol in public parks, and it's a matter of time before a designated public drinking area is defined.

At the May 6 council meeting, town council approved two ordinances allowing for the public possession and consumption of alcohol in public parks, in response to the recently passed state statute allowing for the same, and for the town to designate an area for it.

A resolution to designate Discovery Park as a “pilot” spot was continued to be discussed at the next executive session May 13 to define the limits of the designation. Discovery Park was initially planned to be the first designated public drinking spot, but after further discussion and public comment, town council decided to further discuss confining the open drinking policy to be allowed only for special events and concerts.

“This goes back to … 'How can we dip our toe in the water and see if this makes sense?'” said Councilmember John Diak. “Going to the concerts in the park at Discovery Park, if you take a look a little closely, you kind of see people doing stuff that, if this is passed, would be compliant. It started there. It started with Denver's ordinance of the entire (city), and we met at a happy medium.”

The two ordinances passed unanimously.

The original resolution allowed for public drinking through the entire park, including areas near the Douglas County Public Library, water fountain, playground and ice ribbon. The resolution also adopted the no-glass stipulation from the state statute and added a restricted period for alcohol consumption between 4 p.m. to the park's closing at 10 p.m. The original resolution was scheduled to take effect May 27.

The town holds several events and concerts at Discovery Park during the summer and is frequented by residents during large town events such as Parker Days and the Christmas Carriage Parade.

Under the new state law (SB18-23), effective at the beginning of this year, Coloradans can drink full-strength beer, wine and champagne in public parks so long as it's not in a glass container. Municipalities still need to adopt a similar ordinance for it to be legal within the city or town limits and must define which spaces can allow public drinking. The resolution to make Discovery Park the first open-drinking public space will be tested for one year. After that, the town will decide whether to keep or repeal the ordinances.

Metro district taxes to increase

The Metro District Tax for property owners will increase following the passage of a resolution approving revisions to the town's model service plans and intergovernmental agreement to “reflect updates to the town council policies concerning metropolitan district,” according to the request form for the resolution presented at the May 6 town council meeting.

The changes apply only to new metro districts and new construction homes. 

The revisions would increase the maximum debt mill levy (57 mills) and include an infrastructure capital mill levy (5 mills), a town-dedicated capital and maintenance mill levy (5 mills), and an operations and maintenance mill levy (10 mills). That would increase the current 53 mills of the metro district tax to between 72 and 77 mills. The maximum debt mill levy is subject to further adjustment in accordance with the Gallagher Amendment from 2019 forward. The current debt mill levy of 35 mills is restricted for town revenue at 47.3 mills.

For a $475,000 home, the new metro district tax would increase by about $600 to $2,633 per year, according to the request form.

Term limit redefinition put to a vote

To provide councilmembers and the mayor time to work on long-term issues within the town and region more thoroughly, the town council voted to approve an ordinance to place a question on the Nov. 5 ballot asking whether to define the term limits of elected officials to cap their total service to 16 years.

Councilmembers and the mayor would be allowed to serve four four-year terms combined as mayor or councilmember.

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