Dear Action Line: Why are dogs not allowed in most outdoor seating areas of restaurants / bars in Durango? Most mining towns allow dogs outside and welcome them (and their responsible owners) as part of the community. I heard the city council voted on it a few years ago. Still no bad dogs, just bad dog owners. – Kristopher Warner
Dear Kristopher: While you can blame the city council for many things – for example it has brought enough rain and snow to the area for years – in this case you have to get involved with the restaurateurs.
The law is always changing, and dog owners got a big boost last year when Colorado lawmakers passed bill that makes it much easier for restaurants to let dogs into outdoor seating areas. In the past, catering establishments had to obtain a deviation from their local health department; the invoice 2020 (https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb20-078) made it so that a variance was no longer needed.
So it is up to the restaurant owners whether they want to allow dogs. Not everyone is ready to suddenly change their decades-long attitude that dogs and food are not a hygienic mixture. Some of them may not want to deal with a â€œfecal event,â€ as it is popularly known by the health department. The local health authorities can still issue their own regulations. The San Juan Basin Public Health goes on the state bill and applies some rules restaurants must follow, Chandler Griffin, the department’s communications officer, said in a prepared response.
For example, a restaurant must have a separate entrance for dogs to the outdoor seating so they cannot pass through the grocery store. Plus, dogs are all very special, but they’re still not allowed on chairs. Not even on tables (and neither did your elbows – didn’t you listen to your mother?).
The outdoor dining area cannot be used for the preparation of food or drinks. However, if you ask nicely, a waiter / waitress can refill your glass from a pitcher or “other container”, whatever that is.
The pet must be kept on a leash and kept under control. If a dog becomes unruly or asks a pan-fried piece of filet mignon enriched with garlic and herbs from a neighboring table, then the pet owner has a problem.
Local restaurant owners and staff have recently had serious discussions about whether dogs are allowed and how to proceed, said Dave Woodruff, president of the Durango Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association. The El Moro Tavern, which he owns, has a bulge on Main Avenue that allows dogs.
Guide dogs are a different matter, by the way, and are allowed in all “public accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Steve Barkley, Code Enforcement Officer for the city of Durango.
Dear Line of Action: We just received notice of an “Emergency Repair Project” being carried out by the La Plata Electric Association on Hillcrest Drive. Is this a joke? The city had literally closed Hillcrest Drive for the past three weeks to revitalize the entire street. As of this Monday (July 26th) it’s literally almost a brand new street. How would the city allow LPEA to dig up the street and not tell them, “Hey, maybe do all the digging up the street before we fix the whole street completely.” – Jason
Dear Jason: Yeah, how frustrating is that? It would be like digging up the yard to find the sprinkler leak, doing the complicated repair, filling the hole, reseeding the area, and then watching the same leak develop a day or two later.
At this point you simply decide that it is better to dig up the entire garden and xeriscap the whole thing to avoid future headaches and save the water that becomes more and more expensive and precious over the years and the drought worsens and us everyone starts turning on our neighbors and …
Has Action Line just been distracted?
Um, where are we?
Oh yes, the Hillcrest Drive question.
Well unfortunately the problem was diagnosed there by LPEA after the road was finished. A letter from the electrical cooperative to Hillcrest Drive residents said:
â€œLPEA will be conducting an emergency repair project on Hillcrest Drive to repair a faulty underground power line. Once this work is completed, it will increase the reliability of your power grid and reduce the outages and flashes that have impacted the area. “
Mike Somsen, Durango City Road Inspector, wasn’t enthusiastic either. But these things happen, he said.
“As stated in the notification, this is an ’emergency repair’,” he told Action Line. â€œWe coordinate and work closely with external and internal utility companies before we renew a road. Unfortunately, pipes and electrical lines break out without warning and have to be repaired. It’s not the utility’s fault. They try to be as proactive as possible and replace any known problems before road renewal projects. “
Email questions and suggestions to [email protected] or Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Of course, xeriscaping is not a panacea: you still have to weed.