City Council approves road closures for holiday celebrations

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The Winters City Council began planning for upcoming holiday events and discussed creating an updated special events policy, among other items of business at their regular meeting on Oct. 19.

Event road closures
The council voted unanimously to approve street closures for a new holiday craft fair along with the annual holiday tree lighting and Tractor Parade. Typically held over one day, the events have now been split into two, with the tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 3 and the Tractor Parade on the following Saturday, Dec. 4.

“The reason for splitting these two events is to avoid overcrowding in the area down between Main and Railroad,” City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa said.

For the tree lighting, Main Street will be closed from Railroad Avenue to the Rotary Park parking entrance. Main Street will close from Grant Avenue to Elliott Street beginning at 4 p.m. on the following day for the Tractor Parade reopening as soon as the tractors have passed. Cross streets along the parade route from Emery Street to First Street will be closed for tractor staging with the exception of a detour route along Fourth Street.

As a part of the Tractor Parade, the council also approved a proposal for nine pergolas to be placed along Main Street as a fundraiser for the Winters District Chamber of Commerce. The enclosed areas will be available as a viewing location for a limited number of people. Local businesses will pay a rental fee of $1,500 to sponsor the pergolas, with first rights going to the adjacent businesses. Despite a lengthy discussion, the pergola rental plan was approved unanimously.

A new event, Holden’s Holiday Bazaar, would close Main Street from the mid block crossing to Second Street. The craft fair will bring 65 vendors to Downtown Winters on Dec. 11. Road closures will last from 6 p.m. until 4 p.m. to allow for set up and tear down for the vendors.

The event is supported by the Winters Downtown Business Association as a way to draw business into town.

Special events policy
The council also discussed creating standards for use of city spaces such as the Winters Community Center for special events.

Trepa recommended an advisory group to help create standards for programming and fees for use of city public space for special events. She also said that creating a fee structure might also help to fund maintenance to repair regular wear and tear to city property.

A number of community members and councilmembers spoke out in favor of the process, expressing a desire to support organizations like Winters Community Theater who rely on public spaces for their events. Councilmember Jesse Loren expressed a desire to create two processes for the use of city space in order to lessen the burden on 501(c)3 nonprofits.

Mayor Wade Cowan said city staff look forward to the long overdue updates to city policy. Trepa is hoping to get a presentation ready for the city council before spring events season.

Other business
The council also heard a presentation on updates to local fire codes and approved a number of other provisions.

Chief Building Official Tom Davis and Fire Chief Brad Lopez presented updates to the 2021 building code. The new code closely adheres to 2019 amendments and includes requirements for triggering automatic fire sprinklers in buildings of particular uses and square footage. The updates passed unanimously.

The council also approved rates for Electric Vehicle charging stations located outside of the Community Center and at the First Street parking lot. On top of 49 cents per kilowatt hour fee for the use of the chargers there will be a $2.50 per 30 minutes occupancy charge beginning 30 minutes after the vehicle owner has been notified that their car is charged.

“That’s just to encourage people to be courteous to other people and get their cars out of the way,” Public Works Superintendent Eric Lucero said.

Currently parking spaces are not limited to electric vehicles only, but Lucero suggested that a resolution could be passed to limit the spots for electric vehicles only. Loren and Cowan supported the idea of a resolution.

The council universally approved continuing the Friday afternoon road closures on Main for Outdoor dining as well as a new process for conditional use permitting.

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