CB Council okay with off-Elk Avenue sidewalk seating for Lobar

Lobar goes west along Third Street…

Sidewalk dining will likely be spreading to at least one place off of Elk Avenue this summer. The Crested Butte Town Council is leaning toward supporting a proposal from the Lobar that would allow tables and chairs on a deck along the west side of the Company Store at Third and Elk.



Representatives of the Lobar came to the Town Council with a proposal to build a 32-inch-high, seven-foot-wide deck that would sit against the building and impinge on what is currently used as nose-in parking spaces. Because it is located along Third Street, the deck wouldn’t fall under the year-old rules governing Elk Avenue sidewalk seating.
The Town Council immediately warmed to the general idea of allowing decks and seating on public property through a revocable license. They did want to lower the height of the deck but ultimately decided to look at each proposal on a case-by-case basis. However, once a deck is raised more than 18 inches high, it falls into a more stringent requirement process due to building codes.
Councilperson Jim Schmidt liked the idea but warned that if the council approved this concept, they might see similar proposals in less desirable locations. “This idea really dresses up that side of the building quite nicely,” he said.
Town Building Director Bob Gillie pointed out that Third Street has an 80-foot right-of-way compared to 60 feet for most other streets in town.
Carson West of the Lobar said they had originally hoped to have sidewalk seating along Elk Avenue but not all the businesses inside the Company Store supported the concept. And under the current town regulations, a business is restricted to the front of its direct establishment, which is not very wide for the Lobar, which has a door at the entrance leading to the downstairs establishment.
With seating in the area along the west side of the building, the current parking spaces will become shorter. Three spaces will go from 20 feet to 16.5 feet, while five spaces will be reduced from 25 feet to 18 feet. A standard parking space in Crested Butte is 18 feet.
Lobar co-owner Chris Phillips said he would be happy to take any issues to the Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR) if needed but he hoped to get approval for the idea in time to start early this summer.
Councilperson Shaun Matusewicz suggested eliminating the two parking spaces closest to Elk Avenue.
The rest of the council did not want to open that can of worms, but they did ask that the Lobar sign the spaces to restrict them for “Compact Cars” only.
The council agreed to allow the seating between noon and 10 p.m. A lighting plan will have to go to BOZAR for approval. Phillips said the tables and chairs would be removed from the decking, whatever height is approved, each night.
Phillips and the town staff will collaborate to work out final details of a plan and return to the council for approval of a revocable license next month.

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