Commissioners expressed support for the general concepts of draft policy but felt some of the details needed more work.
The Routt County Commissioners showed support for draft language of an updated policy governing large special events on Monday, though some of the finer points may still need some work.
As currently written, the policy would require some events to obtain commissioner approval depending on the number of participants and the miles of county roads that would be impacted. It would also cap special events to 3,000 participants.
In Monday’s work session commissioners showed support for the main changes to the policy while suggesting changes to details like enforcement and public outreach that should be included in the next draft. The board agreed to hold another work session to discuss the policy before adopting it at a later meeting.
“I think this was one of the more productive work sessions we’ve had on an issue like this,” said Commissioner Tim Corrigan. “We’ve obviously identified a number of things that need to be addressed.”
Part of the discussion focused on the maximum number of participants proposed and whether that should include event staff, volunteers and spectators. As currently drafted, the participant limit only considers people who have signed up for a particular event. While they do have an impact, Commissioner Tim Redmond said he didn’t see an obvious way to consider them in this policy.
“I don’t even really know how you would go about that, but it is a concern,” Redmond said.
County Attorney Erick Knaus said including volunteers and other staff in the maximum number of participants could potentially incentivize some events to use fewer workers to allow for more participants. The county is also likely limited to how they can deal with people simply wanting to observe an event taking place on a county road.
Commissioner Sonja Macys suggested they could add language about creating designated areas for spectators rather than trying to put a limit on them. Macys also wanted to clarify how so-called sub-events are dealt with. For example, SBT GRVL has various rides planned in the days leading up to the race. Current policy would require several special events permits, but the updated draft would consider each of them in one permit application.
“We figured that we would put that all under one main permit so it’s all presented to commissioners,” said Mike Mordi, the county’s public works director.
Corrigan said another point that may need some discussion is an overall cap on events. While it may not seem likely right now, he said the county probably wouldn’t want to be in a position of permitting a large special event every weekend. The current draft doesn’t make reference to any overall cap but does note permit approval is considered in context with other events.
“Some of the comments have said we need to think about the long-term and how this could spin up and we could see more and more and more of this stuff,” Corrigan said. “How we address that I think we should discuss.”