Aurora, CO

Aurora eliminates red tape for ice cream trucks, bar games

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Aurora, Colo.) Thanks to a City Council determined to cut red tape for Aurora businesses, ice cream trucks may be allowed in the city again.

The City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that repeals a decades-old ban on ice cream trucks. It still must be approved a second time at the next council meeting to become law.

The law on the books since 1958 banned ice cream trucks from residential neighborhoods. The newly formed City Council Red Tape Reduction Committee targeted the ban for removal.

No sex offenders allowed

"While some cities such as Denver, Commerce City, and Thornton have a special licensing program for mobile ice cream vendors, most cities that permit ice cream vendors require a basic business license or vendor's license," manager of licensing Trevor Vaughn wrote in a memo to council. Aurora's license prohibits sex offenders from owning or working for ice cream trucks.

"The risk of bad actors decreases when individuals are attempting to operate a legitimate business and obtain a general business license," Vaughn explained in the memo. "The risk would be higher with an unlicensed operator."

Ordinance spells out street safety

The license also addresses safety practices for serving children who enter the street. Vaughn notes that children have been struck by vehicles in some U.S. cities when approaching an ice cream truck.

Bar game licenses repealed

Also, Monday, coming from the Red Tape Reduction Committee, the council voted to repeal an ordinance that requires licenses for bar games.

Councilmember Curtis Gardner sponsored a bill updating requirements for games of chance in the city's bars. The thrust of the legislation is to prohibit illegal gambling machines that use cryptocurrency.

There are seven amusement device distributors in the city, according to Vaughn. Vendor businesses such as arcades and bars hold licenses for between 600 and 700 amusement devices, he explained in a memo to the council.

The new regulations would repeal the cost of licensing the games with the city, which is $35.75 per machine. The new rules would require a general business license to operate the devices. The city would lose about $23,000 in revenue.

Illegal casinos operated in past

"Rather than addressing the definition of gambling, the ordinance addresses permitted amusement devices to close any loopholes in regulations," Aurora Licensing Manager Trevor Vaughn explained in a memo to the council.

The council must approve the bill a second time at an upcoming meeting for it to become law.

Although the city has no simulated casinos now, some existed in the past, and one allegedly was involved in illegal drug activity. The memo said that similar operations in western Colorado were linked with criminal activity.

Councilmembers Danielle Jurinsky and Steve Sundberg both own businesses with bar games, Jurinsky said.

Liquor store distance requirements loosened

Finally, the council approved a recommendation by the Red Tape Reduction Committee to lessen the required distance between liquor stores from 2,000 feet to 1,500 feet. The council must approve the bill a second time for it to become law.

Council wants input from businesses

The council also created an ad hoc committee to solicit input from businesses, organizations, or industries that:

· Comply with city rules and regulations

· Subject to city fees

· Subject to approval from a city department to operate within Aurora

"The purpose of the feedback requested will be to determine if any rules, regulations, city processes or fees are required in Aurora but not in other municipalities, and/or if any of these are more onerous in Aurora than in other municipalities," Deputy City Attorney Jason Batchelor explains to council in a memo.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

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