MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. — Manitou Springs City Council met on Tuesday to discuss a proposed change to the ‘sit-lie’ portion of the city’s Municipal Code that makes it unlawful to sit, lie down, or display items in the public right-of-way in the Downtown area.
The ordinance specifies “designated locations” as exceptions to the ‘sit-lie,’ which would allow for six physically marked spots to be used by street performers, which up until this point, has been illegal. According to a presentation used by City Council, previous Police Chiefs have followed a middle ground of allowing performers to use the “pavers” (brick/paved areas between the sidewalk and roadway).
The desire, according to the wording of the ordinance, is to “preserve the use of public rights-of-way for safe, unimpeded vehicular and pedestrian traffic while concurrently allowing for street performances in a manner that is compatible with the City’s tourist-oriented downtown area, to provide an entertaining environment for visitors.”
What this ordinance does is repeal and reenact Chapter 9.46 of the Manitou Springs Municipal Code so that the city has a written set of rules on the books concerning street performance.
Enforcement of the designated locations would be similar to the parking system that is already in place. Performers would use the parking kiosks to reserve a maximum of two hours at a designated location, and they would have to change locations at the top of each odd-numbered hour. Limiting street performances to designated locations during times that the downtown area is most congested would preserve the city’s sidewalks and roadways for their primary purpose and ensure public and performer safety, according to the ordinance.
This proposed change hasn’t gone unnoticed by local Manitou Springs performers, who turned out to the meeting on Tuesday to protest and call for a seat at the table during discussions. They peacefully demonstrated outside City Hall in the hopes of inspiring a public meeting where they could weigh in on the decisions that will affect them.
“Part of playing music in Manitou, is just the community of us, joining together… it’s not just about the money part, it’s more about what it brings the community together,” said musician Mike Edmiston.
City Council has not moved to a vote on this issue, the meeting Tuesday was just a discussion to gauge interest whether the city would like to see this type of ordinance on a future agenda.
You can view the draft of the ordinance in its entirety below.