The Home Front: Colorado’s $800 million ‘Las Vegas-scale’ hotel

Your daily roundup of the biggest stories from newspapers across the state

“The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center threw open its doors at 12:18 p.m. Tuesday — the 18th day of the 12th month — giving Colorado a Las Vegas scale hotel at 1,501 rooms and Aurora a new place to gather,” reports The Denver Post. “‘This is a place Aurora can call its own,’ developer Ira Mitzner, president of RIDA Development Corp., told a crowd gathered at the property near Denver International Airport for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The $800 million hotel required 10,000 construction workers to build and will employ 1,500 permanent workers to operate. Those workers will receive a ‘living’ wage, along with health insurance benefits and access to a retirement plan, Mitzner promised.”

“Aurora’s police chief said that in his decades of law enforcement, he’s never witnessed the level of unstoppable violence he saw on video of three officers being attacked by an enraged man who then died during the brawl Monday night,” reports The Aurora Sentinel. “‘This is one of the most violent altercations I have ever seen in my career,’ Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. Police identified the dead man Wednesday morning as David Anthony Baker, 32.”

“After over a year of waiting, with dozens of planning meetings, multiple commissioner hearings, and hundreds of public comments, Summit County has adopted regulations for short-term rentals on unincorporated land,” reports The Summit Daily. “The county is following in the footsteps of Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne and Dillon, incorporated towns that have already passed their own short-term rental regulations. The county regulations are meant to put a check on an untamed industry created by web-based lodging apps such as AirBnB and VRBO. The popularity of the apps have led to local residents complaining about the impact vacationers have had on their neighborhood character, as well as safety concerns and potential building code violations. The county has also been concerned about short-term rental owners who may be avoiding paying the commercial property tax rate, as well as whether sales tax has been paid.”

“Longmont City Council made multiple amendments to a prairie dog management ordinance before giving it initial approval on Tuesday night,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The measure, which next will be up for possible further amendments and possible final approval on Jan. 8, would set requirements for all owners of properties within city limits whenever they seek to exterminate prairie dogs on their properties or to relocate them to other suitable habitat. The new requirements would apply to apply to all properties, whether or not they have a currently pending development application. As prepared by the city staff based on council policy directions in March and public comments received in the months that followed, the ordinance would establish an expedited process for owners of properties seeking to get rid of 25 or fewer prairie dogs. Those property owners could apply for a ‘minor management permit.'”

“Grand Junction City Council members informally agreed Monday night to place two separate questions on next April’s municipal ballot that, if approved, would hike the city’s sales tax by more than 50 percent,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The measures would raise millions of dollars for a new community center at Matchett Park and capital investments in fire stations, police staffing, roads and improvements at the Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool.”

“Claire Noone, a 30-year-old attorney who lives in Glenwood Springs, has returned from Tornillo, Texas where she provided legal assistance to children currently being held in a detention facility commonly referred to as the ‘tent city,'” reports The Glenwood Springs Post Independent. “The facility is used to detain unaccompanied immigrant children at the border. After Noone set up a GoFundMe page, residents from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley donated roughly $4,500 to fund Noone’s efforts to provide legal guidance at the camp. ‘There are so many people in this community that see a need, even though it is far away, even though they cannot see the children, that they know it’s something that is our duty to make right,’ Noone said. ‘I have actually committed to go back two more times, due to the money I raised.'”

“At the height of the holiday shopping season, a drive-by shooting at The Citadel mall severely wounded two men Tuesday just outside of the Hooters restaurant,” reports The Colorado Springs Gazette. “The gunfire shattered windows and forced the mall to close for the rest of the day just a week before Christmas. Shots were fired from a car after some yelling back and forth about 1:45 p.m., police spokesman Lt. Howard Black said.”

“The White River National Forest is working on plans to expand an overnight camping permit system to what it calls the core of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness,” reports The Aspen Times. “Permits were required for the first time last summer in Conundrum Valley to ease pressure and ecological damage around the popular hot springs. Now, the White River National Forest is planning an expansion for backpacker overnight use at Capitol Lake, Snowmass Lake and the Four Pass Loop. The permits for camping in the core of the wilderness area likely will be implemented in summer 2020, said Shelly Grail, recreation manager for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. There will be extensive work performed in the field in summer 2019 to prepare for the expansion.”

“After an hours-long discussion and with the clock nearing 1 a.m. Wednesday, Boulder City Council voted 6-3 to temporarily ban development of office space and demolition of apartment buildings in a broad eastern swath of the city designated as a federal opportunity zone,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Councilmembers Bob Yates, Aaron Brockett and Jill Adler Grano dissented. ‘With this moratorium, we just turned an opportunity zone into an opportunity-free zone,’ Councilman Yates said. ‘There’s so many unknown unknowns, I don’t know where to start. This moratorium is super indiscriminate. The unintended consequences are mind boggling.'”


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