The Cortez Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday forwarded two recommendations to City Council that would set the stage for a bandstand at Montezuma Park.
The process began last year when the Cortez Retail Enhancement Association proposed shelling out $30,000 for a bandstand at the community park where CREA hosts the annual Third Thursday market four times a year, from June to September.
But there are several zoning obstacles. According to a Cortez planning memo, the city’s land use code does not include a bandstand or outdoor stage as a specific use. The closest thing would be a theater, which is not currently permitted in the “neighborhood business” district where Montezuma Park is located.
To work around those issues, the commission voted Tuesday to rezone Montezuma Park from “neighborhood business” to “open” and amended the land use code to include theaters as a conditional use in the open zone.
The City Council will soon make a decision on these recommendations.
Planning staff originally recommended that theaters be a permitted use in the open zone, but Commissioner Rachel Medina made a motion to amend it to a conditional use.
“If it’s a (permitted use), then it can happen without public notice, without these meetings or applications,” Medina said. “But if we change it to conditional use, then there is opportunity for public comment and for people to see what is being proposed.”
Vice Chairman Robert Rime was the sole nay vote on the rezoning. While CREA would pay to install the bandstand, Rime noted that the onus for maintenance would fall on the city. He also expressed concern that homeless people might use the bandstand as shelter.
Outside of the four Third Thursday events, he said it could be a “nuisance.” He suggested CREA might want to look into a portable structure.
“So a permanent structure, we’re going to have 360 days where it is an attractive nuisance,” Rime said. “It would be much easier if it was a portable stage.”
Two nearby residents expressed support for the rezoning and bandstand during the public comment period.
Cortez resident John Willard, who lives across from the park, said the Third Thursday markets are part of the community, and he doesn’t mind the noise level. He said people who hang out in the park are generally low maintenance and don’t cause trouble.
“I’m all for stages, I’m all for more participation over there, and I live right across the street,” Willard said.