Denver City Council Votes to Allow Common Consumption Areas November 13,2019

Update, November 13, 2019: Denver City Council voted on November 12, 2019, to allow Common Consumption Areas to go forward. Excise and License will now make rules for the licensing process, a lengthy process. We expect to see the first licenses approved around mid-2020.

Original Story, October 30, 2019: In 2011, the Colorado Legislature passed a law that allows local governments to create a licensing process for Common Consumption Areas. Since then several cities -- including Glendale, Aurora, and Greeley -- have adopted local ordinances and have Common Consumption Areas in operation. In 2017, Denver’s Department of Excises and Licenses began researching Common Consumption Areas and getting feedback from the community. Last week, Denver City Council heard the proposal in committee and voted to move the proposed ordinance forward.

Denver’s proposal would create a five-year pilot program to allow Common Consumption Areas. The process for getting a Common Consumption Area license would be complicated and mostly dictated by State law: Two or more liquor-licensed businesses would need to create what is called a Promotional Association, which would develop the Common Consumption Area license application and begin working with Excise and License. The application would require evidence of support from a local Registered Neighborhood Organization, public notice/posting, a needs and desires hearing, and more. If all the requirements were met, then the applicant would be given conditional approval, and the proposal would be submitted to Denver City Council for the creation of an Entertainment District. Once approved by Council, the process would be completed and the license should be issued shortly thereafter.

Denver is still early in the process for this ordinance. Once it is approved by City Council, which will likely happen sometime in November of 2019, Excise and License will have to go back to the community for a formal rules-making process that will include more public hearings and formal working group meetings. The CRA will be part of that formal process to ensure the concerns and desires of the restaurant community are addressed appropriately. Once that work is completed, Denver will start accepting applications for this new license.

If you would like to know more about what is going on in Denver with regards to Common Consumption Areas, please contact our office at 303-830-2972.

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