Council approves summer concert series

Cynthia Sheeley/Torrington Telegram Chief of Police Matt Johnson discussing the special event permit for the Goshen Economic Development’s summer concert series.

TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council convened for its second March meeting on March 21 at the Torrington Council Chambers. Mayor Herb Doby was present with council members Richard Patterson, Dennis Kelly, Wayne Deahl and Shane Viktorin.

During the meeting, Leann Mattis and Brayden Connour with the Goshen Economic Development requested a special event permit for their summer concert series. These concerts were proposed to be held in the city parking lot behind Vandel Drug and are scheduled for May 31, June 7, 14, 21 and 28. The setup for the events will begin at 3 p.m. and the events will be from 6:30-9 p.m.

“We look at the event from the standpoint of managing the safety of pedestrians inside of the event, can we appropriately manage the liquor consumption and then making sure that the noise can be reasonably managed,” Chief of Police Matt Johnson said. “So, those are the three checkboxes that we looked at for that location.”

Johnson said they will be repositioning the stage, from where it was last year, in hopes to minimize the noise impacting the business in the area. We will also only close six parking spaces in the parking lot at 3 p.m. The rest of the parking lot won’t be closed until closer to the event.

Mattis said this event is a family affair and is focused on bringing the community together downtown. There are food and beverage vendors, along with other types of vendors.

“We’re starting the process now, early on, so we can get the fundraising aspect kicked off,” Mattis told the council. “Last year, this event was a huge and was super successful.”

Mattis said they conducted a survey and out of the 90 respondents, they found that 75% of them liked the location of the event. According to the company they book the concerts through the two days they had to choose from either Wednesday or Saturday. They felt Wednesday would work better for the event and to get foot traffic to downtown businesses.

As a result of the public’s attention on this topic, the council held a public hearing allowing members of the audience to voice their opinions. 

Those who spoke up in support of the event commented on the success of last year’s event, the increase in Goshen County’s sales tax revenue and the positive impacts the event has had on several businesses.

Tiffany Leslie, the owner of the Bronco Bar and Grill House, said, “I have had so much positive feedback, just hearing it in our community since the first one that we had of how many families actually enjoyed going out listening to a band and getting home early enough so that the kids could go to bed. I know a lot of businesses in my area on the black have definitely benefited from it obviously myself and The Mint.”

While everyone who spoke voiced their support for the event itself, a few individuals disapproved of the location and their disappointment in the Goshen Economic Development for not discussing this event more with business owners before bringing it up to the council.

Marie Flanagan, the owner of Torrington Cinemas, said, “We were unfortunately impacted by the sound (last year). We had Jurassic Park playing and we had people leaving during the movie because the sound from the concert was so loud. I’m very thankful that the Bronco Bar had foot traffic; I think that’s fabulous. 

“We have not been spoken to about the events for this event or anything,” Flanagan continued. “So, learning that it’s five consecutive days, we will lose about $500 a day (because of being forced to close).” 

Ty Correll, the co-owner of Heartland Embroidery, asked, “Why not look at the city park? Chief Johnson even brought up a lot of people not being there on the hot concrete when it’s six o’clock. Why not put it in the park where you have shade? Go to Jirdon Park, where you’re right next to the pool and have shade, a playground, ballfields and basketball hoops.”

After a lengthy discussion, the council approved the special event permit with one nay from Viktorin due to concerns about the location raised by the public.

Building and Grounds Superintendent Dennis Estes presented Mark McMahon’s request for a setback variance at 131 Holly Drive.

“Mr. McMahon has asked me for a setback variance on the north side of the property from the required 20- or 30-foot to a 23-foot and on the east side from 30-foot to 20.5-foot,” Estes explained. “He wishes to build a bigger garage to store some personal equipment. I’ve had no comments from the neighbors. Staff recommends approval.”

McMahon said the new construction will match the existing structure already in place.

The council held a public hearing on this issue; however, no one spoke for or against it. The council unanimously approved this setback variance.

Estes also presented Tom Mcintosh’s request for a footage variance at 2317 East E Street.

“Mr. Mcintosh is asking for a variance to the allowable square footage for an accessory structure,” Estes explained. “He’s allowed 700 square footage in the zone. Most zones and most lots in town, you’re allowed 10% of that square footage of that lot for any accessory structures.”

Estes said if a resident would like to use more of that square footage, then they must get it approved by the council. At this time, they have received no comments or complaints from neighbors, so the staff recommends approval.

The council held a public hearing on this issue; however, no one spoke for or against it. The council unanimously approved this footage variance.

Director of Public Works Jeff Harkins presented a landfill consulting engineer five-year agreement to the council.

“It’s my recommendation that the council approves retaining consulting engineers under a five-year agreement beginning July 1, 2023, to perform engineering services for the landfill,” Harkins said. “These engineers have been the landfill consultants since August 2013. Since that date, there have been 13 different amendments to the agreement.”

Harkins explained the consultant prepares an amendment, figures out the price for the project and then it is presented to the council for approval. Over the years, they have provided amendments for the environmental monitoring, sampling and reporting of landfill number two.

The council approved the five-year agreement.

City Attorney James Eddington read resolution number 2023-8 pertaining to the authorization for submission of four Wyoming Homeland Security Grant Applications. These grants are for the purchases of essential vehicles, equipment and security fencing for the city of Torrington.

Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Kenyon explained each of these projects if approved, would be paid for by federal money. If the city received a bid for a project higher than the amount of the grant, the city may decide to cover the remaining sum or return the grant and withdraw the project.

The council approved authorizing the submission of the four grants. 

The council approved the mayor’s appointments for municipal judges and members for the Lodging Tax Board and the Torrington Urban System Committee.

The council approved a punch card for individuals to be added to the 2023 golf fees for the golf course. These punch cards will have 12 punches for 18-hole rounds. The cards are $310 each.

The council approved a catering permit for Julie Miller Harshberger for the Torrington Cinema’s “Couple Nite Out” on March 24 from 5-11 p.m.

Eddington read the ordinance relating to participation in the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) Green Energy Program.

During the first reading on Feb. 21, City Clerk and Treasurer Lynette Strecker explained this ordinance approves the city’s participation in the program. Currently, the city owns about one percent of wind energy in this program. While the city could choose to get out of this program, maintaining this partnership would allow the city to invest in green energy at lower prices in the future.

The council unanimously approved the third and final reading relating to the MEAN green energy program. 

Eddington read the ordinance on repealing section 13.24.030 relating to deposits. 

During the first reading on March 7, Strecker explained that this ordinance was missed when they made an update in 2017, so now there are two conflicting policies for deposits. Upon this realization, they would like to remove this section and leave the updated version.

The council unanimously approved the second reading relating to repealing section 13.24.030. This is the second of three readings required for this ordinance to take effect. The last reading will be on Apr. 4.

During the mayoral informational part of the meeting, Doby had Rhonda Estes, the city’s senior accounting clerk, present a short presentation for the Wyoming Community Gas program.

Rhonda explained the Wyoming Community Gas program was created as a way to get gas companies to compete with each other to help lower gas prices.

“Our balloting season will be here April 6 to 26,” Rhonda said. “People will be getting their ballots soon. There are several ways that they can look for the different rate options that they have and the what the different suppliers are offering.”

Doby said the money collected in this program goes back into the city through Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) scholarships, golf tournaments and fundraisers for the Rotary Club, among other things. The last check received from this program was $13,630.

The next meeting of the Torrington City Council will take place Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Torrington City Council Chambers at 436 East 22nd Avenue.

Video News