Breckenridge plans to revise special event permit application process

Breckenridge's Oktoberfest is traditionally held in September. Revisions made to the Breckenridge Town Code would change how an event is defined and how a permit is obtained if the ordinance passes a second reading.
Photo by Louie Traub / Breckenridge Tourism Office

An ordinance changing the special events section of the town code passed unanimously on first reading at the Breckenridge Town Council meeting Tuesday, May 11.

The ordinance would redefine special events as being primarily entertainment focused and create a tiered system based on the number of attendees and impact on town resources, among other factors. Previously, an event had to meet a single set of criteria and have at least 50 attendees.

Town spokesperson Haley Littleton said the creation of tiers will better streamline the process for smaller, low-impact events, many of which require few town resources.

“The goal of this was to clarify the process of permitting events based on their impacts and needs to allow staff to better understand the totality of the event landscape and mitigate, as necessary, event impacts,” Littleton wrote in an email. “In this regard, it is so the town of Breckenridge is never surprised by the impact of an event that might occur and can better assess what events to approve for the community.”

The first four tiers vary based on the length of the event and the anticipated maximum attendance as well as the impact on the venue, surrounding areas and town resources. The last category is designated for First Amendment events, which include things like speeches or protests.

Littleton said town staff received feedback throughout March and April on the proposed special event ordinance changes, which were intended to improve structure and criteria for event permitting.

In the council meeting Tuesday, Assistant Town Manager Shannon Haynes said a provision will be added to the ordinance before the second reading that would allow the town manager to decide which tier an event falls within.

Also to be revised is the section on the town service fee, which would be paid by the permittee to reimburse the town for costs incurred in providing services for the event, including the use of town personnel, equipment, transportation or public safety services, or town venues and facilities.

“Town service fees are intended to allow the town to recoup actual expenses directly related to an event, like trail maintenance and electricity/power needs,” Littleton wrote.

An estimated fee would be provided at the time the permit is issued. Littleton said the town staff is also revising the existing application fee schedule and creating a town service fee schedule.

First Amendment events would not incur a fee.

There would also be a fee waiver request, which would go through the town manager after being evaluated by events committees. The ordinance included a provision that would allow council to hear an appeal of a fee waiver denial for events in certain tiers, but that will be removed after council members agreed it was a decision best left to the town manager, who could consult with the council as needed.

Applications for permits could be filed up to 365 days prior to the date the event is intended to be held should the ordinance pass.

“Clarifying the process of events is key for managing the impact of events on the community,” Littleton said. “This will allow us to better plan for all events to ensure that they align with our community goals, calendar considerations, and mitigating any traffic or impacts for residents.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.