Currently, restaurants are allowed in city regional parks (Reservoir, Flatirons Golf Course, and Valmont City Park) as an "accessory use" in a public zone.

To support the city’s ability to create spaces for people to eat, gather and celebrate in public spaces, and to fulfill community interests in food and beverage at the regional parks, City Council will review an ordinance that will more clearly allow restaurants at these three sites.

This would allow the restaurants to develop plans that support their successful operations and allow the restaurants to operate with the same zoning restrictions as a normal city business.

This ordinance would affect these three sites only and not any other parks.

Ordinance information and public participation process

City Council passed first reading of Ordinance 8510 on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 via consent agenda.

The Planning Board held a public hearing on the draft ordinance on Thursday, Oct. 7 and recommended to Council to reject the Ordinance as written due to concerns.

On Tuesday, October 26 City Council had a second reading of the ordinance and held a public hearing. The ordinance was amended and approved.

The Ordinance was approved via consent agenda on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Learn how to participate at City Council meetings and sign up for public comment and read the Council meeting materials.

Rezoning details

  • Having these three locations zoned for restaurants would support successful public-private partnerships and allow them to advertise their restaurants as amenities on their own.
  • Community engagement to date during the Parks and Recreation Master Plan update, including input from City Council, supports the Boulder Parks an Recreation Department continuing its partnership seeking efforts, and creating diverse revenue streams during the current financial challenges.
  • The City of Boulder will ensure compatibility with adjacent land uses. Liquor licensing would be subject to the full review and approval of the Beverage Licensing Authority.
  • The restaurants would have lease agreements directly with the city, and thus the city can still exercise control over the operations.
  • At the Boulder Reservoir, a City Council-approved lease guides the operations of Driftwind Restaurant, so any zoning change is not anticipated to have an impact on its operations. In fact, the operators and the city have agreed that the operating plan developed in 2021 in response to address concerns about potential impacts to nearby neighbors and/or wildlife will continue into 2022.
  • The rezoning of these spaces at these three regional parks will help the city to appropriately program public spaces in line with goals expressed in community-developed and approved plans.

History of food service and concept plans for the three regional parks

Boulder Reservoir

  • Historically, concessions were served by an outside contractor.
  • The Visitor Services Center concept plan was approved in January 2017 by the PRAB and Driftwind restaurant opened in the new Center summer 2021.
  • Concept plan goals:
    • Expand concessions offerings with possibilities of obtaining a liquor license for the site and for exploring a partnership with a larger scale concessionaire
    • Have multi-use spaces serving a variety of events

Flatirons Golf Course

  • Historically, a to-go snack shop was operated by an outside contractor and the "Spice of Life" event center was operated by an outside contractor until the flood in 2013 closed the building.
  • The Flatirons Golf Course Facility Design is currently in the development phase of the project.
  • Facility Design goals
    • Build a neighborhood restaurant and an outdoor event space
    • Develop a business plan that will guide the search for a food and beverage partner

Valmont City Park