Old Colorado City to Manitou: Proposed no-panhandling zone

       A proposed no-panhandling law on Colorado Avenue from Old Colorado City to the Manitou border - which would have been mulled by City Council in late June if not for the Waldo Canyon Fire - is now slated for the July 24 informal council meeting.
       The idea is for council members to discuss the plan at that time, then vote on it as a city ordinance at their Aug. 14 formal meeting.
       The push for a beggar ban initially came from downtown merchants concerned that unkempt people seeking handouts are hurting trade. After business owners and residents off Colorado Avenue west of 31st Street heard about it, they sought to be included. Most recently, merchants in Old Colorado City - concerned that such a zone just west of them would move the problem into their midst - have asked to opt in too.
       According to Organiza-tion of Westside Neighbors (OWN) President Welling Clark, city attorneys are still working on the ordinance wording. But they have been given direction from an ad hoc group on west-of-31st crime issues, called the Stakeholder Task Force. Its meetings have included representatives of OWN, City Police, County Sheriff's Office and Manitou Springs Police, plus elected officials and business owners and residents.
       The Task Force recommendations to the city are:
  • To create a “no-panhandling zone on West Colorado Avenue from the Manitou border east to include the Old Colorado City Historic District.” (Meanwhile, Manitou and the county, which also have jurisdiction in places between 31st and Manitou's Highway 24 interchange, should consider policies of their own to achieve “a common outcome” with the city, the Task Force states.)
  • To develop wording that would allow business routes of highways to be included in a no-panhandling zone.
  • To annex all “non-city enclaves… in the general vicinity of West Colorado Avenue.” An enclave that is surrounded completely by the city can be annexed by a vote of City Council; an area that is just partly contiguous first requires a petitioning process from within the area itself.
           Note: Only one 100-percent enclave has been identified west of 31st, the Smoker City at 3313 W. Colorado Ave. Its owner, Dharmesh Jivan, told the Westside Pioneer that while he is OK with the city annexing his property (in part because of the fire protection that comes with it), such would not mean a sales tax boost for the city because only the state has a sales tax on cigarettes.
           An uncertainty is the process that might be used to rename (also called “rebrand”) the west-of-31st area. Part of the Task Force's summary addresses local leaders' dislike of the current nickname: “No Man's Land.” The Task Force has decided to temporarily call it “The Avenue,” the summary states, “until the local residents and businesses (in conjunction with the Westside Avenue Action Plan team) determine a proper designation for the area.”
           However, Barry Grossman, representing the Westside Avenue Action Plan Team, has recently announced that renaming No Man's Land will not be part of the Action Plan. He elaborated in an e-mail to the Westside Pioneer: “The study team is not going to get involved in rebranding the corridor. That's going to be a community effort. I told the Task Force members that they can use the results of the study to help them in their efforts to rebrand the corridor.”

    Westside Pioneer article