Merchants send new delivery regs back for revision
Impassioned pleas from several Aspen business owners Monday night headed off a new city ordinance that one businessman said would force him to shut down.
But the City Council has essentially promised to pass the ordinance once a few changes are made, no matter how much the business owners object, probably on Aug. 23.
The ordinance, written by the city’s Commercial Core and Lodging Commission, has been in the works for some five years and the subject of countless hearings and meetings. It is intended to eliminate late-night deliveries to downtown businesses, due to complaints that the noise of the deliveries is keeping downtown residents from getting enough sleep.
Under the proposed law, which has received preliminary council approval, deliveries would not be allowed between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the downtown “commercial core” district. Between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., deliveries would be permitted on the streets, in the alleys and in loading zones, and between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., deliveries could be made only in the alleys and loading zones. Specific exemptions were included for newspaper deliveries and fast-food services.
CCLC member Bill Dinsmoor and city staffers told the City Council they had consulted with local businesses and delivery companies about the proposed new law, and had received their blessing.
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But several business owners disagreed.
Mike Husaluk, owner of Sandy’s Office Supply, brought two letters objecting to the new law – one from Aspen’s Florist and another from Orrison Distributing, a beverage wholesaler that was included in a list of businesses that supposedly support the new law.
Husaluk, backed by several others at the meeting, said some businesses depend on statewide delivery companies with tight schedules. One delivery executive, whose trucks bring Husaluk’s deliveries, said the new ordinance might result in Aspen’s being dropped from his routes.
Among the other criticisms lodged against the ordinance were concerns that it would add to general automotive congestion in the daytime, when he said loading zones already are inadequate to meet the demand, and would worsen Aspen’s air pollution problems.
Supporters of the law argued that the 200 or so downtown residents deserve a little peace at night.
Councilman Jim Markalunas cited the guarantees listed in the Declaration of Independence (life, liberty and pursuit of happiness), and declared, “The right to life includes the right to get a good night’s sleep.”
But in the end, the council partially relented, directing the CCLC to cut the no-delivery hours by one hour, starting at 9 p.m. instead of 8; create a review mechanism for exemptions for businesses that might be crippled by the law, and allowing “street-side” deliveries to keep noise away from homes along the alleyways; and look into making allowances for small delivery vehicles, such as those that deliver baked goods from bakeries to hotels and restaurants.
The ordinance is expected to be back before the council on Aug. 23, and Mayor Rachel Richards all but promised the CCLC members it would be passed at that time.
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