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Broomfield mulls common alcohol consumption zones

BROOMFIELD — It’s a warm summer evening, and you’re hanging out on the patio of your go-to Broomfield watering hole. You’ve just ordered a drink, but your friends want to bop next door to the brewery and check out a band that’s about to perform. The world is expensive, so you don’t want to toss your fresh beer; but you also want to make sure you’re close to the stage when the music starts. 

Tough call. If only you could stroll freely with your beverage …

Broomfield leaders are considering a measure that would codify the framework for common alcohol consumption and potentially eliminate such difficult decision-making. 

Common consumption areas, along with the entertainment districts in which they would be located — both topics of discussion Tuesday evening during a Broomfield City Council study session — would work like this:

A group of businesses — likely a conglomerate made up largely of bars owners, restaurateurs, landlords and developers — would form an association and request that Broomfield City Council approve the formation of an entertainment district, which city staff has defined as an area of town that includes at least 20,000 square feet of commercial space where alcohol consumption is already permitted — bars, restaurants, breweries and hotels, for example.

Neighboring businesses within the newly formed entertainment district would then petition the Broomfield Local Licensing Authority to establish a common consumption area, of which an entertainment district could have more than one. 

Should Broomfield leaders adopt the code changes as proposed, the business association that forms the zone “must be controlled by a board of directors that includes a representative from every licensed business wishing to attach to the common consumption area,” according to Broomfield documents. 

Once formed, patrons, with certain exceptions, would be free to drink alcohol purchased at any participating establishment within the zone. 

“While a patron may remove an alcohol beverage from a licensee to a common consumption area, a patron may not enter a licensee with an alcohol beverage,” a city memo clarified. “The common consumption area must be surrounded by physical barriers to close the area to vehicles and to limit pedestrian access.”

Broomfield’s goal isn’t to create the blueprint for a Bourbon Street-esque free-for-all, staff said.

Applicants must “develop all sorts of operational plans” related to traffic, safety, health and drinking laws before common consumption areas are approved, assistant Broomfield city attorney Joel Heiny said. “This is a pretty significant process for a group of businesses to form a common consumption area.”

According to a Broomfield staff memo, the city has “received four inquiries from developers and specific businesses seeking to establish an entertainment district for common consumption; two of the developers would facilitate and promote the entertainment district as part of their tenant recruitment and development design.”

An ordinance setting forth the framework for entertainment districts and common consumption areas — but not establishing any such individual zones — is expected to be introduced by Broomfield City Council this spring, followed by a public hearing and vote in May. 

City officials are taking on this issue during a period when retailers and their landlords are increasingly leaning on “shopper experience” as a competitive advantage over e-commerce companies. 

Additionally, the COVID-era largely reinforced the popularity of outdoor spaces shared among adjacent eateries and watering holes, the codification of which represent “innovation areas” for local governments adjusting to the post-pandemic marketplace, Broomfield City Councilman Deven Shaff said.

In Broomfield, for example, FlatIron Crossing owner Macerich Co. is redeveloping the aging mall into what it hopes will be a mixed-use, 24-hour mini-community.

Plans for the redeveloped FlatIron Crossing area “envision(s) a mix of use with one to three office developments, one to three multi-family residential developments, one hotel, two to four restaurant pads, grade-level retail, a parking structure, and the removal of certain existing surface parking areas to accommodate new development,” according to Broomfield planning documents.

The initial phase of the project, which is now working its way through Broomfield’s development approval process, is expected to include several new buildings for food and beverage tenants and an outdoor pavilion — perhaps close-by locations between which folks might bounce around over the course of an evening. 

Source: BizWest