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September 11, 2012
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Entertainment district passes first hurdle

Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story previously posted on www.snowmasssun.com.

SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Snowmass Village took its first step toward allowing open alcoholic containers to be carried around Base Village and the mall, despite objections from council and residents about safety and the reputation of the ski resort.

Monday night, the Snowmass Village Town Council approved on first reading an ordinance creating an entertainment district encompassing the mall and Base Village, wherein liquor licensees can create areas that patrons can walk around with alcoholic beverages purchased at a participating establishment.

A state law recently passed in Colorado allows municipalities to create such districts. Roads can pass through the district, but the "common consumption areas" within it must be auto-free.

"Do you want to allow that in an area that is a community hub that is predominantly auto?" said Town Attorney John Dresser.

Councilman John Wilkinson asked if the Snowmass Center could also be included. Wilkinson said he was thinking of any connections that might be built from Base Village to the Center.

"The (entertainment district) can be changed at any time by you," Dresser said.

Dresser said he thinks the Liquor Licensing Authority is in favor of the move, and that Police Chief Art Smythe is supportive.

"Understand that the obligation for security falls under the promotional association," he said. Liquor licensees must join together in promotional associations to create a common consumption area.

Vicki Weinstein, owner of a residence in the Capitol Peak Lodge, spoke in opposition of the proposal.

"Drunkenness is already an issue," she said. "From a noise and liability issue for us as owners up there we don't want anything else that going to encourage (disorder)."

People could get hurt and file lawsuits, she said. She requested that Base Village Masters Association owners be co-insured if the district is created.

"I would hope that the concerns of this lady ... would be addressed at any application that would come forward," said Wilkinson, who moved to approve the ordinance.

Vicki Weinstein's husband, Vic, asked who raised the idea. Dresser responded that liquor licensees approached the town about the opportunity created by the state law.

"We've also been approached by property owners ... (and) others on the mall that are very intrigued by this idea," said Town Manager Russ Forrest.

"Please work with us and don't shove this down our throats. We think this is a lousy idea," Vic Weinstein said. He said he used to live in New Orleans and heard the comparison of the entertainment district concept to Bourbon Street. "This is supposed to be a classy place, and this does not sound classy at all."

Councilman Jason Haber said he saw a "disconnect" between it and the more family-oriented atmosphere the town also wants to create, remarking that the Treehouse Kids' Adventure Center opens out onto Base Village plaza.

Councilman Fred Kucker favored the ordinance as creating a fun atmosphere for tourists.

"I think we do have to remember this is a resort community," he said. "It is our lifeblood."

Haber and Councilwoman Markey Butler voted against the ordinance. The council is scheduled to have a second reading at its next meeting on Sept. 24.


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The Aspen Times Updated Sep 11, 2012 06:45PM Published Sep 11, 2012 06:42PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.