WP council parks parking ordinance

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With two Woodland Park councilmembers out of town and another recusing himself, the remaining three councilmembers and the mayor felt the time wasn't right to consider a parking ordinance that the city planning commission had worked on for several months.

The ordinance that would, if approved, change the formula the city uses for determining how many parking spaces are necessary for new multifamily residential construction was up for consideration in public hearing at the Oct. 4 council meeting. Councilmember Eric Smith left the council chambers before discussion began because he is developing a large apartment complex and will benefit monetarily from the proposed change in the city's parking formula.

The public hearing was opened and then continued to the Nov. 1 council meeting.

Filling out the rest of the meeting was a presentation by Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Miller on the Woodland Park Visitors Center 2012 fiscal year. She said the center had 7,275 visitors during the year, mostly from Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri and received another 6,263 phone calls mostly from Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Illinois.

In the past Colorado ranked third or fourth among the top five states for phone calls and visitors, Miller said, adding, “We're sure the increase is because of our `Staycation' advertising program.”

The chamber advertises Woodland Park staycations in the area of the state bounded north and south by Denver and Trinidad and east and west by Lamar and Guffey.

The city paid the chamber $37,537 to run the visitors center and the chamber supplemented visitors center operations with an additional $11,530. Miller estimated the return in tax revenue on the city's investment at about $2.48 per dollar spent.

Most of this was in increased lodging tax revenue despite the impact of Waldo Canyon Fire on lodging revenues in June and July. She estimated the loss in lodging revenue at about 5 percent, which she said is less than it might have been if chamber volunteers hadn't worked hard to convince people that Woodland Park hadn't burned and wasn't surrounded by “burnt sticks.”