City of Cortez Approves Outdoor Drinking and Dining Ordinance

Aug 9, 2017

A divided Cortez City Council gave narrow approval Tuesday to an ordinance allowing outdoor drinking and dining on approved portions of city streets and sidewalks downtown. The 4 to 3 vote came after the council heard from three citizens concerned about safety and loss of parking. The ordinance was the result of a proposal by KSJD Radio and Sunflower Theatre Executive Director Jeff Pope. He told the council in June that he would like three parking spaces on Market Street near the theatre to become a temporary portable deck where people could enjoy refreshments before and after events. Under the ordinance, such decks are available only in the central business district, and none would be approved on Main Street without permission from the state. But Dave and Lana Waters and their daughter Tiffani, owners of Love on a Hanger, voiced concerns. Dave Waters said it seemed counterproductive for the city to install medians on Main Street to improve safety while letting people drink alcohol in the streets. Lana Waters agreed, saying, “Vehicles and alcohol do not mix.” City attorney Mike Green said barriers will separate the areas from the street. But Dave Waters also said loss of parking is an issue and if customers can’t park close to a business, they “continue to Walmart, which has a lot of parking.” Councilors Karen Sheek, Ty Keel, Bob Archibeque, and Tim Miller voted for the ordinance.