Westminster council signals support for entertainment districts

Luke Zarzecki
lzarzecki@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/25/22

Westminster city council gave direction to city staff on April 18 to bring forward an ordinance that would create entertainment districts in the city. The ordinance would come to council on May …

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Westminster council signals support for entertainment districts

Posted

Westminster city council agreed April 18 to bring forward an ordinance that would create entertainment districts in the city.

The ordinance would come to the council on May 9. 

“I’m very pleased to see this come forward,” said Mayor Pro Tem David DeMott.

He said he has been interested in creating an entertainment district since 2018.

The two proposed area boundaries would be The Orchard Town Center district, which would be bordered by 147th Ave. on the north, 144th Avenue on the south, I-25 on the east and Huron Street on the West. 

The downtown entertainment district would be bordered by 91st Place on the north, 88th Avenue on the south, East Park on the east and the retail center west of Harlan street on the west.  

Lindsey Kimball, economic development director, said previous year's special events, like the Orchard Concert Series and the Latino Festival, could take place in the districts.  Regular events and events that are more frequent, such as Barks and Brews on Fridays,  could as well, Kimball said. 

“It draws people back and brings familiarity,” she said. 

Kimball said an entertainment district is meant to be a community gathering space for concerts, activities, festivals and more and could help improve business. Other cities in Colorado have taken advantage of them, including Aurora, Black Hawk, Denver, Fort Collins, Greeley and more. 

“It’s driving business to our restaurants and retailers,” she said. 

The districts can’t be larger than 100 acres and must contain two premises licensed to serve alcohol that would work together to create a common consumption area. The State and city of Westminster would carry out frequent compliance checks,  according to Ron Arguello, assistant city attorney 

Beverages served at events in the districts could be no more than 16 ounces and each cup must bear the logo of the vendor. 

Net-zero discussion

Westminster City Councilor Sarah Nurmela asked if any of the events would be net-zero energy or zero waste, and pointed to events in the past that included these measures.  Interim City Manager Jody Andrews said that since the city hasn’t had events in so long due to COVID-19, staff will circle back to that. 

Mayor Nancy McNally asked that the city look past the zero-waste requirement if a vendor cannot adhere to the policy, since global supply chain issues can impact a business's ability to do so. 

“It’s out of their control right now,” she said. 

DeMott said the council is not in a place to demand that of the vendors, but it should be encouraged. 

The authority to create an entertainment district comes from state statutes that allow cities to do so. Arguello said an entertainment district would help reduce the burden of regular events applying for special permits each year since their information will already be on file. 

The council can also put parameters on the districts, such as as requiring events end at 9 p.m. due to residents living nearby.  That's a good thing, McNally said. 

“Good neighbors are good things and it means having time limits,” she said. 

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