Moving quickly onto tonight's public hearing: A 5-year extension of outdoor dining. In case you need another reminder, we're NOT talking about the West Pearl closure tonight. That's for later.…
This has been running since early in the pandemic.…
But it's been kinda hodge-podge: Lots of dif types of infrastructure, restaurants taking over lots of space and not always leaving room for pedestrians or folks with mobility devices.

So the city is doing new, standard rules for everyone.
The current program expiring Aug. 31, 2022
This will be Sept. 1, 2002 - Oct. 31, 2027

Council last discussed April 19…
Here are the new rules:
1.) “Metal planter boxes capable of holding approximately 1⁄2 cubic yard of soil and/or plants and reflective markers are required for infrastructure placed adjacent to active traffic for safety purpose” Or other materials certified by crash testing
2.) Hard fences or railing required for alcohol service — min of 3 ft high, max of 4 ft

3.) Cap of 500 sq ft per restaurant and 1,000 sq ft total on public right-of-way
4.) Restaurants may have to remove and store outdoor dining infrastructure for city-permitted events; no more than 10 days per month
What council has to decide tonight is how much subsidy to give biz in this program. ARPA $$ is being used for this — council OK'd $250K, and CAGID (the downtown parking district) kicked in $50K
Only biz who spent $$ on outdoor dining during the pandemic an apply for subsidies
Here's what the fees are without subsidies:
Council is also deciding whether the city should buy infrastructure (tables, chairs, walls, etc.) in bulk and lease them to participants, or just do a list of approved stuff and the restaurants themselves buy them.
This is all tied up with the subsidies, because which option determines how much things cost.
Option A
- Restaurants buy own infrastructure
- One-year permit fee for use of Right-Of-Way: $18.76/sq ft on the mall; $13.13/sq ft off
- Subsidies of up to $2,500
- Restaurants responsible for installation and storage
Option B
- City buys infrastructure in bulk
- Same permit fee for use of right-of-way
- $16.25/sf on mall and $21.87/sq ft Off Mall fee for infrastructure; a 50% discount
- City will install and store infrastructure
Option C (only for private property)
- Restaurants purchase, install and store infrastructure
- Subsidy of up to $2,500 available
- No annual cost to restaurants (because they don't need a permit for the right-of-way)
One other super interesting thing from staff notes... they tried to use Boulder's new racial equity tool.

Every dept is supposed to be doing this for all budget decisions, new programs, city policies, etc. but most don't seem to be using it.
Anyway, they tried to assess the outdoor dining program using it but it turns out that Boulder is too white.
“Given the demographics of Boulder, we lack adequate input from people of color," staff wrote. "Input was gained from stakeholders that primarily represent a White demographic."
For reference, the City of Boulder is:
- 79% White
- 10% Hispanic or Latinx
- 6% Asian
- 3% two or more races

"This leads us to a broader question that outdoor dining alone cannot address — how do we make the City of Boulder more inclusive?" staff wrote to council.
They suggested that Boulder "speak to other communities who have implemented outdoor dining programs, particularly communities that have a larger demographic of people of color" to determine racial equity implications.
If you are guessing that my headline on this story is, "Boulder's too white to use its racial equity tool," you're gosh darn right it is.
I do want to note that I've received feedback in the past from PoC that they hate this framing of "Boulder's so white" because it ignores that they are here and part of Boulder. That is a super important perspective to include.
We may hear more on this later, though it's not really the major decision/discussion point. Just something that jumped out at me.
Wallach: Why are we charging more for this on the mall vs. off? Does data support that?

Cris Jones, director of Community Vitality: Those revocable permit fees were established long before outdoor dining. We're just using the existing ones.
Edward Stafford: That's been in city ordinance for many years, because "it was presumed there was a higher value for that land on the bricks than elsewhere." Its set upon market rate leases. It hasn't been evaluated or changed in many years.
Wallach: "Lease rates are one thing. Profitability is another."
Sigh-O-Meter: 1
Some of these fees seem arbitrary, Wallach says. "Where does it all come from?"

Stafford: The application fees are based on estimates of staff time, to get to cost recovery. That policy was set in 1994. Lease fees for public ROW is based on lease rates.
Stafford: We are looking at our fees in the next couple of years, but that's a big job. Again, these are all pre-established fees.
Revocable permits are issued for 3 years; lease of outdoor dining infrastructure will match that, says city attorney Sandra Llanes.

Any lease 3 years or greater needs to go through council, so this will not require that (which adds a bit of time).
Jones: It will let us check in on how things are going, too. Hopefully at that 3-year mark, we can check in and possibly extend the program.

The pilot itself is a 5-year program, but again, longer leases need council approval. So that would be a lot of red tape.
Folkerts: 4-ft opaque fences are pretty tall when you're seated. I'm not sure that adds to the streetscape.

Jones: Alcohol licenses require a 3-ft barrier. We proposed a 4-ft max. We could revise that down; "we just wanted to provide some level of flexibility."
Only 1 person signed up for public hearing. Guess this isn't the hot ticket I thought it might be.
Benjamin: "I'm uncomfortable with an idea that we're investing in, that biz are investing in, can kinda just go away" and sunset.

Wants a check-in at the 2-yr mark to "make it permanent" if it's working. "Idk that we need 5 years to totally determine" that.
Also has an issue that places that don't want to continue with "official" outdoor dining program have to take down their stuff by Aug. 31 of this year.

"It's an odd time to tell people to pull the rug out," Benjamin says, bc it will still be nice out.
The end of the current program is tied to liquor laws and emergency orders, which are state-level, Jones said. So it's not really in the city's control. Even if the emergency orders extend, restaurants have to go through the state liquor process all over again.
Llanes: "There's an equity issue as well. There are a lot of folks doing work to get in compliance with our code. Then you would have a group of folks who continue doing what their doing and basically get a free pass."
It's a big administrative headache, Mishawn Cook says. Some locations are taking up more room than they will be allowed, which could keep participating restaurants from rightfully taking THEIR space when the new program starts Sept. 1
Speer on the lack of a robust racial equity assessment: It feels a little uncomfortable to me that we didn't get enough feedback from PoC. I'm coming from this perspective that if we're not making a positive step, we're possibly continuing harm.
How can we try to get a sense of racial equity, Speer asks. Is it the people eating outside? I do appreciate the attempt to use it, but it makes me uncomfortable that we didn't get much from it.
Jones: There is other work going on where this tool will work better, including a look at economic vitality.

"In the nature of trying to stand up a program in really short order, it does make it challenging to have a broad, widely inclusive public engagement process."
We can still reach out to people, Jones said, and we will. "We still can continue to listen, but in using the tool right now in this rapid format, it did not provide us with that."
Speer: This is something to check in on when we do that.
Motion to approve the 5-year extension, with a 2-year check-in to make it permanent (not a pilot) if things are going well.

Unanimous vote on that. Outdoor dining will continue.
@threadreaderapp please unroll. Thanks!

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Shay Castle

Shay Castle Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @shayshinecastle

Jun 22
Bonus thread! Not super important, but you might want to know about this pending annexation of 302, 334-338 Arapahoe Ave.

There's still a second reading and maybe a public hearing before it's final.
This is 1.087 acres near Eben G. Fine
Currently has 3 single-family homes, 1960s construction
(334, 336, 338 Arapahoe) and 1 single-family home, 1900s construction w/additions in 1930s and 1950s
(302 Arapahoe) which has city water but not sewer
Annexations, as a reminder, are typically so the property can access city services (such as water and sewer).

These properties seem like they should already be in the city, and indeed much of the surrounding property already is.
Read 10 tweets
Jun 22
Next, we're talking e-bikes: Should Boulder do an e-bike rebate program like Denver's?…
A member of the Transportation Advisory Board proposed this, according to transportation director Natalie Stiffler, and Community Cycles submitted a proposal for a pilot program.
"Staff is interested in pursuing" this if council is interested, Stiffler says. Because it would take staff time, council has to sign off on it via an informal vote called a Nod of Five.
Read 28 tweets
Jun 22
Next: An update from the Fire Department on how their master plan implementation is going.…
A couple of big things in this last master plan update was the Fire Dept taking over more emergency response services, referred to as Advanced Life Support.
This started WAY back in 2018. Boulder contracts with AMR to provide ambulance/emergency response services, but Boulder Fire goes with them. In fact, most of the calls the fire dept handles are emergency response.
Read 23 tweets
Jun 22
Getting a quick presentation on updates to the Use Tables, work which started in 2018. Prior to that, they were last updated in the 1990s.…
What are use tables? Basically, they say what can go where in the built environment (houses, biz, retail, restaurants, industry, etc.)
Phase 1 of this project was finished in 2019, where council mostly dealt with housing and office space.…
Read 16 tweets
Jun 21
Hey, #Boulder, are you ready for your very last Tuesday night city council tweet thread EVER?
Not because I'm leaving or anything; meetings are just moving to Thursdays starting July 14. Summer break is between now and then, so this is the very last Tuesday night meeting.
They made it a special one for you. We've got
- A public hearing on outdoor dining (but NOT West Pearl closures)
- Discussion of a possible e-bike rebate program, a la Denver's
- And an update from the fire dept
Read 6 tweets
Jun 15
Alright, tonight's main event: Discussing even-year elections; specifically how Boulder might make that switch.

Council last discussed this May 10.…
Voters will need to approve this change, of course, but the HOW could greatly impact support for it. CC needs to hammer those details out for the ballot language.

Basically, there are two considerations: Having elections back-to-back or extending terms for council members. (Legally, their terms cannot be shortened.)
Read 57 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!