Commissioners are set to review an updated special events policy on Monday that would require some special events to obtain commissioner approval each year.
The working draft of an updated policy governing large special events in Routt County would limit the number of people that can participate in events like SBT GRVL and require certain events to obtain commissioner approval each year.
If commissioners were to approve the policy as currently written, events would be limited to a maximum of 3,000 participants. Whether a particular event requires Commissioner sign-off depends on how many participants there are and how many miles of county roads would be impacted.
Commissioners are set to discuss the draft policy on Monday, where they will give feedback to the Road and Bridge Department before it comes back to the board for adoption ahead of this summer’s special events.
Commissioners decided to revisit the special event permitting process late last year after they received numerous complaints about SBT GRVL from ranchers and other rural residents. They filled an October Commissioner’s meeting to air frustrations that ranged from gravel roads bloated with bikers to race participants trespassing on their property to relieve themselves.
SBT GRVL, which already has about 3,000 participants and uses roughly 128 miles of county roads, has held listening sessions with rural residents to better understand issues and work to address them ahead of this year’s event.
Currently, with large events over 1,000 people, the event organizers need to consult the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, and impacted fire districts as well as having a traffic plan and event insurance. These are reviewed by Routt County Road and Bridge staff, who then permit the event.
The new policy would require the same outreach and application process with an added step for certain events. If an event impacts 20 miles or more of the county’s roads and has more than 100 participants then it could be subject to a public hearing to allow members of the public to weigh in on the event plan. Event organizers would be required to pay to advertise that public hearing.
The process would also require various other steps like a communication plan including signage, a medical plan including how emergency vehicles will access the event and a narrative explaining how organizers have worked to reduce the impacts of their event on Routt County residents, among other requirements.
The policy as drafted does not imply an overall cap on the number of special events in a given year, though events are considered in the context of each other. Recurring special events are asked to apply for a permit 18 months in advance to ensure that dates do not conflict with other events on the book.
When Commissioners discussed the policy in December, they said it was not their goal to stop any events entirely.
“That’s the spectrum — no events or unlimited events,” said Commissioner Tim Corrigan. “We’re going to arrive at something in between.”
Commissioners are scheduled to review the draft policy at 1 p.m. on Monday at the Historic Routt County Courthouse.
Top Photo Caption: SBT GRVL bike race has been the focus of much of the special event permitting discussion. (Routt County/Courtesy)