The Crested Butte town council heard an appeal of a Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR) decision on February 19 and in true King Solomon fashion, found a compromise that seemed to please neither party.
Doug Pederson and Phoebe Wilson of the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin appealed a recent BOZAR decision that continued to prohibit them from opening the north-facing windows at the bar. The business is located in a B-3 zone on Third Street and is next to a short-term rental property. During lengthy discussion over the issue, Wilson explained that in the summer, customers would open the windows to enjoy the fresh air, thus placing the Dogwood in violation of its conditional use permit. The neighboring house, owned by Dee Dee and Ron McLeod, then bore the brunt of additional late-night noise. Given how difficult it was to control the actions of customers, Wilson was asking that the windows be allowed to be open during business hours that ended at midnight. “The McLeod property is in a mixed-use area where there is a high concentration of the town’s restaurants and bars,” said Wilson. “The level of noise comes from all the area businesses, not just the Dogwood.” Wilson said the open windows helped with air circulation. She reminded the council that the Dogwood had become one of the town’s more dynamic businesses, providing a fair amount of sales tax to the community. Dee Dee McLeod countered that she and Ron had purchased the property last summer and felt they had reached a “neighborly compromise” with the Dogwood to allow the patio door to the deck to remain open. Like all restaurants located in the B-3 zone, the Dogwood is permitted to have outdoor seating until 9 p.m. “The noise has affected our short-term renters and the enjoyment of our property,” she said. “When those windows are open, it creates a significant adverse impact to the property. And that’s not allowed under your town code.” Wilson said they were hoping the Dogwood could come under the same restrictions as other similar businesses in town. That would include longer outdoor seating hours, and the ability for regular live music. Attorney David Leinsdorf spoke for the McLeods, saying that as a customer of the Dogwood, he agreed that the establishment is a benefit for the town. “But that’s not the issue. The windows being open create more noise. You have to uphold the BOZAR decision that came out of a spirit of compromise. The town has already relaxed many of the original conditions set on the Dogwood.” During the council deliberation, councilperson Roland Mason said it appeared that common sense would dictate that the windows could be open at the same time there were people allowed on the outdoor patio. “But it makes sense to make sure they are closed after 9 o’clock. And it is up to Doug and Phoebe to make sure they remain closed.” “I think we are here to apply the code as written,” countered Councilperson Shaun Matusewicz. The council voted 5-2 to go with a compromise of the BOZAR compromise. With Matusewicz and Councilperson Glenn Michel voting no, the council ruled that the five north-facing windows in question could be open until 9 p.m. After that, they must remain closed. Ahh...life in a small town.