Aspen City Council extends right-of-way encroachment for businesses

Krasimir Delinikokov serves water to Debbie and Chris Miller at the French Alpine Bistro's outdoor dining setup in Aspen on Friday, June 26, 2020
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Aspen City Council on Tuesday approved extending the ability for restaurants and retailers to partially operate in the street for an additional two weeks as COVID-19 public health orders limit capacity to 50%.

Council approved allowing right-of-way encroachments for businesses in June, and due to the success of the “Roadway for Restaurant and Retail Recovery”, or R4 program, will allow it until Nov. 1.

The program was set to expire Oct. 12.

“Another couple of weeks give every opportunity to wring that cash register a couple of times,” Councilman Ward Hauenstein said. “This is low impact.”

Twenty-two businesses have activated spaces in front of their storefronts for restaurant seating or merchandise display, taking up 47 parking spaces.

The city provided 50 planter boxes to create a boundary between cars and the spaces.

Staff will be presenting a new resolution at a later date that will ask for authority on similar programs to be applied during the winter period, according to Pete Rice, division manager of the city’s engineering department.

The city and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association are hosting a virtual town hall Wednesday at 9 a.m. with the business community, and one with the community at large, on Sept. 30 at 5 p.m., to discuss the summer during the COVID-19 pandemic and what winter should and could look like.

People can register to attend either meeting, or both, at http://www.aspen, the city’s interactive web page that also has a survey asking participants about their concerns for winter and their opinions on the summer.