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Reservoir Restaurant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We are very excited about our hospitality partnership with the Dine and Dash Group and are working carefully with them to ensure the relationship serves our community well at their newest restaurant,  Driftwind   The FAQS intends to answer questions we have heard, make public our commitments to be good neighbors, and to support conversations with community members and neighbors.    

 

Driftwind is a restaurant, concession and event space located in the Boulder Reservoir visitor’s center. This beautiful new space exists to serve the Boulder community as well as being an enhancement to the park. Coming Memorial Day Weekend 2021, Driftwind will provide an elevated taste of daily concessions to park visitors, a series of weekend dinner special events to raise awareness and funds for local non-profits, and a gathering space to rent for private events of any occasion. We look forward to welcoming you to Driftwind soon! Contact [email protected] for more information.

 

For an overview of Driftwind operations, please see the 2021 Driftwind Operations Overview, which documents our operating agreements for 2021. Per clause 3.B of the lease, this document must be complied with by both parties. The answers below include more details.

Click on a category below to read questions about that topic. We appreciate hearing from the community and are updating this FAQ as we recieve more questions and more information. These updates are noted next to the questions with the date (for example: " Content updated 2-5-21").

On Wednesday, February 10, we hosted 2 meetings with neighbors of the Reservoir. Recordings of those meetings can be found here: 

On Monday, April 12, 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. we will host another meeting with neighbors. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to join.

HISTORY AND PROJECT OVERVIEW

1. What is the new Visitor’s Services Center?

The City of Boulder Reservoir (“the reservoir”) is one of the most popular and heavily visited park facilities in the city and region. It is also one of only six northern Front Range facilities supporting water-based and powerboating recreation opportunities and though smaller than other area facilities, the reservoir offers a significant range of services to the community and maintains one of the highest visitation rates of approximately 300,000 per year. The Reservoir has always operated a concessions area near the beach provided by an outside contractor. Prior to the demolition of the previous Bathhouse and Administration Building and patio as described previously, the concessions area was on the ground level and provided a snack bar concessions experience with grab and go food and drinks.

In 2012, the Boulder Reservoir Master Plan indicated that the most critical facility serving reservoir visitors was needing repairs and renovation, and in 2016, staff began planning for its replacement based on the cost of rehabilitation exceeding that of a new facility. The final concept plan, approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) in January of 2017, was developed based on feedback from a cross-section of Boulder community members, reservoir user groups and the PRAB. The details of that process and concept plan may be found in the PRAB Memo January 2017 (starting on page 27).

2. Why did the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department seek out a hospitality partner at the new facility?

Through the development of the concept for the new building, BPR talked to the community. Based on that input and policy direction from the Boulder Reservoir Master Plan and Boulder Parks and Recreation Master Plan, these goals were established and approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB):

  • Extending shoulder season use opportunities of the Boulder Reservoir Regional Park;
  • Establishing partnerships with various groups to expand programming and offset construction and operating costs;
  • Expanding concessions offerings with possibilities of obtaining a liquor license for the site and for exploring a partnership with a larger scale concessionaire;
  • Creating a “welcoming” and “family oriented” design character, promoting a healthy and athletic lifestyle, and focusing on sustainability of the facility; and
  • Creating multi-use spaces serving a variety of events across all generations of user groups.

The building and partnership, similar in some ways to how the Flatirons Events Center operated at the Flatirons Golf Course and by Spice of Life, was designed to support these goals.

3. What community engagement was included in this process and the decision?

The Boulder Reservoir Master Plan , as a major policy document to guide long-term operations and investments at a unique amenity serving the city and region, included significant engagement across the community. Participants included Reservoir visitors, recreation and wildlife organizations, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB), the Water Resources Advisory Board (WRAB), and City Council. Community input was received through focus groups, a user survey, open houses, workshops, e-mail and public hearings.

The Visitors Services Center Concept Plan was developed with input received at public Open Houses , via public review and comment online, and input from the PRAB and Boulder’s Youth Opportunities Advisory Board. The final concept was approved by the PRAB in January 2017, after input on the final design was received through a final public comment period posted online and notified to over 8,000 emails.   

The partnership and lease were developed based upon the guidance from the two above projects and finalized with input from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) and approved by the PRAB and City Council.

4. Why is Boulder Parks and Recreation creating a Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA)? What is the purpose of the Good Neighbor Agreement? - Content updated 4-5-21

Our intention with the Good Neighbor Agreement is to build strong two-way communication with our Reservoir neighbors by documenting our communication commitments and a process for neighbors to share input on Reservoir operations. We hope that this will help prevent issues and address any should they arrive. The first draft of this GNA can be viewed online and the second draft is now available here. To see the difference between the two drafts, please see this version with the changes tracked. 

5. When will this Good Neighbor Agreement be completed? - Content updated 3-12-21

The timeline for finalizing this Good Neighbor Agreement is as follows:

    • March 3 –  17:   

    Neighbors provide feedback on the draft GNA through this survey. 

     

    • March 18 – 31:   

    Boulder Parks and Recreation (BPR) will address feedback from neighbors and make revisions to the next draft. 

     

    • Monday, April 5:  

     

    BPR emails GNA second draft and April 12 meeting link. 

    • Monday, April 12:   

     

    BPR will host a meeting with neighbors to review the second draft. 

    • Monday, April 26:   

     

    BPR will consult with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) at their April business meeting. 

    • Thursday, May 13:  

     

    The final GNA will be published and go into effect. 

RESTAURANT OPERATIONS

1. Who will be operating the restaurant at the Boulder Reservoir Visitor Service Center? -  Content updated 2-25-21

The Dine and Dash group, which will operate under the trade name Driftwind, is to operate a restaurant as an accessory use to the Boulder Reservoir. Driftwind will provide a year-round, but seasonally shifting, food amenity and event space for the reservoir. The cuisine will be a food-forward concept, with an emphasis on local and sustainable providers, and a place that is accessible to families and adults, and in the upper mid-price point. Here is an introduction straight from the operators: I’d like to let you know a little about who we are and what our eventual plans are to help activate the space in cooperation with the City of Boulder and Parks & Rec. First, you should know that we, like you, love the Boulder Reservoir. This place is very much our home. My wife and I met in Boulder in 1997 and have been residents here ever since. We started our businesses here and are raising our family here. We own T/ACO restaurant and River and Woods Restaurant and the soon-to-be Ash’Kara Restaurant on West Pearl (whose opening was also delayed by COVID). We own other concepts in Golden and Denver. I also publish DiningOut, a magazine which is about restaurant culture. We have dedicated our adult lives to the restaurant industry because bringing people together to share a moment in time is fulfilling for us in profound ways. We believe that the best restaurants are reflections of the places where they are, that they enhance that place, providing an expression of it for all those who visit. Restaurants for us are a vehicle to community; food and drink just happen to be the medium by which we celebrate it.

2. What are the hours of operation? -   Content updated 3-3-21

For 2021: Driftwind will operate both “in-season” (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and “Low-season” (Labor Day to Memorial Day),

In-Season Regular Hours: 9am-9pm Monday through Thursday and 9am-10pm Friday-Sunday.

Low Season Regular hours:5pm-9pm.

(note that the lease outlines operations as late as midnight; these are maximum allowable limits. Regular hours of operation are noted above).

3. Tell me more about the restaurant! -  Content updated 3-3-21

Peak-Season (Memorial Day to Labor Day)

Daytime:

From Memorial Day-Labor Day, while the Reservoir is formally open to the public, Driftwind will offer morning coffee service, source food trucks from 11 am-5 pm, and augment these offerings with simple but elevated (i.e. . consciously sourced, ethically produced, healthier) concession food for those visiting the park. 

Evening:

From 5pm during the season, 3-4 nights/week, the space will shift into a price-fixed beachside dinner experience featuring multi-course dinners from acclaimed chef Daniel Asher and other local culinary talents.  

Low-Season (Labor Day to Memorial Day)

For 2021-2022, the premises will likely be closed during the day in the Low-season except for special and private events. 

4. How late will the restaurant be open? -  Content updated 3-3-21

Generally, the hours of operation are 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday -Sunday. There may be fluctuations, Friday – Sunday based upon the season or private events however, the incoming gates will close at 9:00 p.m. every day (except for taxi and/or rideshare).

5. How many people can the restaurant serve? -  Content updated 3-3-21

The restaurant will serve about 100 guests at a time on the high end for dining, with 150-175 possible for events and within current public health guidelines to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

6. What is in the lease and how long is the agreement between the COB and the restaurant partner? -  Content updated 2-5-21

The lease  between Boulder Parks and Recreation (BPR) and Landloch, LLC clarifies the shared goals of this partnership and outlines the responsibilities of each to implement this partnership for the benefit of Boulder. The lease includes the commitment of each party to ensure that the operations of the leasehold align with and promote community values. To promote the success of the partnership, each party also agrees to abide by Operating Guiding Principles. The lease, including the guiding principles, has been approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and City Council. The lease also requires the development of key operational policy documents and Section 3.B of the lease requires both parties to comply with these policies. The city retains final approval authority for these documents. Section 9.B of the agreement gives the city to terminate the lease if the partner fails to satisfactorily perform their scope of services.

The term of the lease is five years. It was first amended in October 2020 and a second amendment made in February 2021 to reflect the delay in initiation due to the pandemic.

EVENTS

1. Why does the City of Boulder offer Special Events at the Boulder Reservoir?

The city is proud to host a variety of Special Events that contribute to the social, economic and environmental health and well-being of our community. The Reservoir is a unique amenity in our community, providing the community’s only venue for open-water swimming. The water, along with the adjacent trails and roads, make it an ideal and safe venue for running and triathlon events in this community of athletes.

2. What do you do to limit the impact of Special Events on reservoir neighbors?

Based upon input from neighbors in 2013, and as part of a citywide effort to improve event coordination, the city’s Special Events Guide pdf outlines requirements for all event promoters in the city and includes specific elements necessary for hosting events at the reservoir related to:

  • Amplified Sound;
  • Deposit Requirements to ensure events perform within the specifications;
  • Parking and Transportation;
  • Safety and Security; and
  • Access.

Special event organizers pay a deposit that can be held for lack of performance against these requirements.

3. What entertainment will be provided with the new building and restaurant?

Live music, outdoor games, and other activations appropriate to the setting will promote responsible consumption and enhance the experience at the newly renovated area. 

4. What other events will the restaurant partner offer? -  Content updated 3-3-21

Special Events: Public events for more than 50 people, regardless of who produces them, are considered Special Events and must be approved by the city’s Reservoir Manager, as part of the regular review of operations between the two entities, and as outlined in the City’s Special Events Guide.

For the 2021 summer, Driftwind plans to partner with local non-profits to offer a “Dinner on the Beach” fundraising series to be held on weekend evenings throughout the season.  Events will be ticketed, proceeds will benefit non-profit partners, and all guidelines, policies and ordinances will be adhered to.

Private events are closed to the public, and current examples are the ~120 picnic rentals/year at nine picnic sites along the South Shore. These events have an average attendance of 80 people, although some serve as many as 500.

Private events facilitated by Driftwind are allowed through the lease, with strict requirements to ensure they are a value-add for the community and do not have negative impacts on the site or neighbors. These events are still governed by city regulations, parks and recreation policies, the lease and operating documents mentioned in the description of the lease above. Private events that are allowed with no additional permission from the city include:

  • Do not require any adjustments to operation hours
  • Do not require any additional amplified sound
  • Do not require support from City staff
  • Do not exceed 200 attendees

5. How often will the partner host private events? 

Driftwind will have an event coordinator who will handle incoming inquiries for private events such as weddings and rehearsal dinners. The number of private events is based on the demand for the space, and a specific number is not known. Private events should not have a significantly different impact on the space than regular service with regard to traffic, noise or other factors.

6. How late will events be held?

At the latest, private events will end by midnight. All noise ordinances regarding outdoor amplification will be strictly adhered to. Sound checks at the property line will ensure the absolute minimum of intrusion beyond the gates.

7. How many people can attend the private events hosted by the partner? -  Content updated 3-3-21

In 2021, attendees will be limited by COVID-related requirements on gatherings. Space capacities are informed by size, type of gathering, and current public health guidance. These experiences will inform guidance for future years. 

​8. Will you offer any additional communication to the neighborhood near the Reservoir regarding events that are held at the restaurant?

Special events will continue to be communicated to neighbors as outlined in the Special Events Guide.

SOUND

1. Can you explain the types of sound that the restaurant will have?

During dinner hours there will be ambient music or acoustic live music, fed via built-in speakers indoors and out. The sound level will be set with the intention of enhancing the atmosphere but not limiting conversation. We have tested the sound levels of this ambient music, and it is not audible from the property line, and outdoor speakers will be turned off at 9:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10:00 p.m. Friday-Sunday. On occasion, there will be live music outdoors for enjoyment on the patio and beach.

  • This might include, a DJ or other entertainment may be hired when hosting special or private events.
  • Sound levels will not exceed allowable limits by City of Boulder.​

2. What will you do to ensure the sound doesn’t impact neighbors?

Sound levels will regularly be tested at the property borders to ensure compliance with the ordinance. In addition, sound from the facility will be designed to face north and east, away from the reservoir entrance, and buffered by the building. We have conducted sound tests and found that noise is barely audible at the park gates when played at very large volumes, but not those that are anticipated to be used during normal operations.

3. How will you make sure the sound doesn’t impact the local wildlife?

We carefully plan and manage all areas of the reservoir with a balance of preservation and recreation as outlined in the vision from our master plan. As part of regular operations, staff continue to monitor conditions with our local ecology in mind. A staff ecologist working with consultants will consistently be monitoring the sound, lighting and any other aspects that might interfere with wildlife.  As mentioned, the sound will likely not even be audible within the wildlife areas and any lighting will likely not have impacts on breeding and nesting.  The lighting at the facility will continue to be compliant with the city’s lighting ordinance that follows the “dark sky” approach.

SAFETY

1. How will this impact traffic on 51st St? -  Content updated 2-5-21

We understand that some are concerned that the restaurant will result in increased traffic on 51 st Street. A traffic study was not required for this project because the size of the building did not increase substantially nor do we anticipate a significant growth in attendance. A traffic study was conducted in 2013 for construction of the Fire Training Center, also located at the Reservoir. The findings of that study indicated that on a typical weekday throughout the year, 51 st street carried less than 1,500 vehicle trips per day and operates at a high level of service with low vehicular traffic volumes and primarily free flow operations.

We know that some have expressed concerns about existing speed violations or accidents on the road. Boulder County, the operator of 51 st St (a public road), reviewed data and road conditions to explore these perceived issues. The review of crash data does not support the conclusion that there is a documented safety issue on this street and they do not perceive a current safety hazard.

Based upon concerns about reduced sight distance at the Kelso Road intersection on 51 st St, Boulder County will be adding a reduced speed advisory sign to the existing intersection warning sign on this hill to warn motorists traveling south and in advance of Kelso Rd.

In addition, Boulder County Public Works will conduct a speed study this summer to investigate the perceptions of excessive speeding and to determine if the current speed limits are appropriate.

To connect with overarching city sustainability goals, and as outlined in the Boulder Reservoir Master Plan, staff have been working to address traffic associated with special events since 2012. For example, entry improvements have reduced the stacking of vehicles on 51 st . Staff commit to continuing these improvement efforts, and to working with the appropriate agencies to develop a Traffic Demand Management (TDM) strategy that promotes and supports alternative transportation mode use and carpooling to the Reservoir and establishes incentives for pricing strategies to encourage carpooling and multiple occupancy vehicle visits. One example of this in progress is the per car $10.00 Twilight Fee initiated this year – this fee will be available in the summer season post-6p.m. to incentivize carpooling.

2. Why is the city interested in a partner having a liquor-license? -  Content updated 3-3-21

A liquor license is designed specifically to control alcohol consumption, putting the burden of such control on the holder of the license. A license was seen as supporting the monitoring and control of the consumption that has not been in place in the previous years and that was the city and partner’s intent with the application- to support responsible consumption as an accompaniment to a meal and Reservoir experience.

The Dine and Dash group withdrew their liquor license application in February 2021. For 2021, operations will focus on supporting great experiences within the guidance of currently allowed activities at the Boulder Reservoir.

3. Is alcohol allowed in the water while swimming?   Content updated 3-24-21

No alcohol is allowed in swim area at any time. This will be enforced by Parks and Recreation staff on the swim beach during the hours that the swim beach is open. After hours, nobody is allowed in the water at all.

4. Will the BYO alcohol policy at the reservoir will remain in place since Driftwind has withdrawn their application for a liquor license?    Content updated 3-3-21

Open containers, also known as bring-your-own alcohol, are still allowed at the reservoir, as this area is excluded from the city’s ban on open containers of alcohol in public. 

5. How will you ensure a safe experience amidst the presence of alcohol? -  Content updated 3-3-21

We take all safety and certainly water safety seriously. Alcohol has been allowed at the Reservoir since 1981. We have a highly trained team of water safety professionals who are constantly hoping for the best, but prepared to respond to the worst. This team will help inform the management practices of our partnership.

Private events, such as weddings, will have security as needed based on the size and type of event.

In addition to the many people who visit the reservoir to recreate, the facility is already the site for an average of 120 “private” events each year at 9 large group picnic sites along the south shore (such as reservations for reunions, family celebrations, weddings). These events have an average attendance of 80 people and some in the hundreds and some into the evening hours. There are also the other community events that take place such as the Dash and Dine and Stroke and Stride among others. In addition, alcohol is already allowed at the reservoir under an ordinance allowing for it at this facility and included in many of these events. Events and presence of alcohol are not new factors at the reservoir and are ones we are already accustomed to managing.

In addition, we are committed to continuous improvement and regularly scan for leading practices among the many, many waterfront facilities at lakes and beaches across the country.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Both Driftwind and Parks and Rec are committed to supporting safe consumption, including working with the Sheriff’s Office, incentivizing ride share/taxi, and promoting designated drivers.

6. I have other questions, who can I contact?

Please reach out to Stephanie Munro, Regional Facilities Manager ([email protected]).