Green is good, to a degree

Good intentions gone awry.

That may be the best way to describe some of the work of the City of Fort Collins’ Urban Renewal Authority at the moment.

As recently reported by our Molly Armbrister, the URA is considering requiring businesses that are located within urban renewal zones to make their buildings environmentally friendly in order to qualify for tax-increment financing.

Buildings would have to be LEED silver-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Talk about giving with one hand and taking with the other. Adopting this approach would, at a minimum, mean adding thousands of dollars to even the most modest project.

Fortunately, this is just an idea at the moment and the City Council would have to sign off before it becomes policy.

On this issue, the council would do well to heed former Mayor Ray Martinez, a member of the executive board of the South Fort Collins Business Association.

His common-sense response to the notion: Requiring LEED certification sounds like good policy but it’s just too expensive for most small businesses.

Such a change could discourage ever better-financed developers from proposing projects in the URAs.

The URA will be holding a series of public meetings on the topic in coming weeks.

We’re all for saving the planet, but the URA staff’s enthusiasm for a “greener” city, at least in this case, needs to be reined in.

It’s one thing to establish incentives and altogether something else to mandate.

The URA shouldn’t expect much, if any, support from the business community on this one.

STAGGER BAR CLOSINGS

In discussing the use of force by his officers in general terms, Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto makes a compelling point:

Officers, he said, have used some sort of force about 70 times in the past year while handling about 24,000 calls for service.

That’s clearly a very low ratio. It doesn’t, however, clear the officer who was captured recently on camera shoving a Loveland man backward in Old Town Square.

The incident, which remains under investigation by the police department, also raises important questions about closing times for Old Town bars and restaurants.

Aren’t we simply asking for trouble when the bars all close at the same hour? The result is a mad rush of people, many of whom have had too much to drink, pouring out into the streets at the same moment.

It’s an approach that obviously raises the potential for confrontations. At least one solution seems fairly evident:

Stagger the closing times of the bars.

The owners of these businesses will protest. They all naturally want to stay open until the last possible moment.

But the stampede of glassy-eyed idiots looking for trouble needs to end. Staggering closing times means they would trickle out of the bars over the course of an hour or two, rather than have hundreds, if not thousands, stumbling out at the same instant.

The old argument against staggered closings is that there’s nothing to stop sozzled testosterone from jamming into the next joint. But the answer to that isn’t so complicated: station bouncers at the doorways to bar entry to anyone clearly inebriated.

The city also should allow the bars to stay open later. A 2 a.m. closing for a lot of night owls just means racing to get sauced.

So let’s let the bars stay open until 4 a.m. or even 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and stagger closing times.

Bar owners might end up making a little more money and the police will have fewer drunks to handle all at once.

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