Winter Park to allow restaurants to use their parking lots as patios in order to serve guests

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 20:53:19-04

WINTER PARK, Colo. — Driving through the mountains and into Winter Park, The Viking Lodge is hard to miss.

Owners of the lodge, Jill and Scott Sutcliffe, say the building dates back to the 1940s and the long history notwithstanding, the start of 2020 was a great year the couple.

"We were going gang busters. Revenue was up, occupancy was up and then all of a sudden, it was the door slammed in our face.", said Scott.

Since then, the lodge, along with the rest of town, has been sleepy and quiet — but the town is working to wake up from its slumber.

And now, Keith Riesberg, the Town Manager of Winter Park, says a new ordinance will allow restaurants to expand their patios into the parking lot. But just because a variance request is approved today doesn’t mean it’ll begin tomorrow.

"By adopting the ordinance and knowing that the regulations are going to be waived, it allows the businesses to start planning where they may be able to expand their patio areas, how to apply for the expansion of their liquor license," Riesberg said.

Grand County’s variance request was submitted last week to the state and still hasn’t received final approval, meaning businesses like in Cooper Creek Square still don’t have concrete guidelines to go by.

For now, it's a waiting game until specific guidelines are approved by the state and restaurants in Winter Park are able to serve customers in their parking lots.