WALSENBURG- The seemingly innocuous ordinances 983 and 984 brought up in Walsenburg City Council Tuesday night, vacating an alley and rezoning a residential lot across from Family Dollar as commercial, quickly piqued audience interest when it was discovered that they were passed in the hopes of attracting a new grocery store to Walsenburg.
Hugh Brown, of Lamar, CO, owner of Stanton County Foods, later told the Journal he will be building a new store in northen Walsenburg before the end of the year. “We’ve got a contract on the property. We’re really looking forward to it,” he said. He does not know what he’ll name it yet.
Two other proposed city ordinances were what brought out a crowd to the Walsenburg City Council meeting, proposing changes in business licenses.
The broadly worded ordinance 982 proposes a significant business license rate hike, and, with the way it is currently worded could potentially impact non-profits, garage sales, and small home based businesses. The ordinance will be reviewed in committee and revised. Chamber of Commerce reps were in attendance to protest, and will be part of the committee meeting as well.
Ordinance 981 which proposes increasing liquor licensing fees, has also been received with apprehension by the public. Owners of several establishments that serve liquor were there, including Fred Eccher of Crown Lanes who said he and the others were there, “to find out what is going on.” City Attorney Dan Hyatt explained that “the City of Walsenburg is a statutory city, and we are required to follow state statutes.” He went on to say that he felt that the increases were not significant, and, “I don’t see what the problem is.” Blue Rooster owner David Bird, noted that his tavern renewal fee would go from $75 to $500, a seemingly significant increase. To the relief of the audience, it turned out that there was a typo in the ordinance. The liquor license renewal fee would actually only be increased from $75 to $100.