As my wife Debbie said recently, we appreciate all the great support we’ve received during the last 18 months. The end is near! We only have two more public hearings to go.
This Wednesday morning public comments will be shipped to members of Boulder County’s Planning Commission. Unfortunately, unless you commented recently on the draft regulations none of your earlier letters on house concerts will be delivered.
You CAN help with a short comment via the BoCo Land Use website.
** Please note County web site meeting time currently lists the incorrect time (which they will fix soon) - it will be an afternoon 3 PM hearing on Wednesday, January 16. **
** While we believe there is no need for this constitutionally challenged regulation, the primary wording change we’d like to see is raising the maximum from 6 to 12 home events per year. **
IF YOU ONLY HAVE TIME FOR A QUICK PUBLIC COMMENT PLEASE USE THE BOCO LAND USE WEBSITE.
If you have more time, letters to the County Commissioners and some local papers would be most appreciated. All of them require your name, address, and daytime phone number for verification purposes. If you keep your newspaper letters to under 200 words it will increase the odds of it being printed.
I am not a Libertarian but if you need tips on writing a letter to an editor check this out
Please write what’s on your mind or pick one topic from this list to be most effective:
#1 Boulder County is going in the wrong direction trying to regulate private parties. Even
“progressive” Colorado Springs allows monthly gatherings of 100 at a house concert there. Here’s an
article from 2002…this series in CO Springs does concerts almost every month now.
Other cities allowing house concerts include
#2 Cities all over the country, including Boulder, have nuisance party laws. They do not regulate size or frequency but instead measure the impact on the neighborhood.
#3 Regulating events on public lands is one thing but regulations affecting what you do in your living room has constitutional problems.
#4 Enforcement of the proposed regulation will be practically impossible. Who will keep track of annual “home events” and how to record if attendance was between 25 - 60? For something that is not advertised to the general public, how can you tell the difference between one of these “home events” and an ordinary party without actually sending an officer on-site to investigate? Not only does this make it unenforceable (that knock on the door could be a Fourth Amendment violation or even a First Amendment violation via prior restraint if people start looking over their shoulders for that knock), it gives any ornery neighbor an excuse to file anonymous complaints any time someone hosts a party of any kind.
#5 Boulder County is taking an absurd position by saying social events are illegal if not specifically authorized when most laws specify what is illegal. Why does a quiet indoor party need to be limited in size or frequency when much louder outdoor BBQs are allowed? Why limit the size of temporary signs to 2 square feet when real estate and celebratory party signs are often are much larger? Are there 14th amendment Equal Protection Clause issues here?
No justification is given for restricting music events (broadcast or live) but not restricting other broadcast events run under similar circumstances. What about parties where people chip in for pay per view events? Or weekly football parties where everyone comes to watch the broadcast but is expected to chip in for pizza and beer provided by the hosts? Or a big film club that meets regularly at the home of a family that has an extra-large media room and asks that everyone who attends chips in to help pay for the equipment?
#6 Boulder County should encourage community social gatherings in homes. Many wine tasting clubs, prayer meetings with donations, pay-per-view football parties take place monthly or more often. Every year, people often have outdoor fund raisers (both political and charitable) that will exceed the size or frequency of these “home events.” Why should they be exempt?
#7 If exemptions are allowed for celebrations, how do you treat a Halloween potluck with musicians where guests optionally buy CDs or tip the musicians? How is that different from a political fund raiser where contributions are often expected? Why is Boulder County making a distinction over activity versus neighborhood impact?
#8 Why not just enforce existing nuisance laws rather than create new unconstitutional laws?
#9 Isn’t this a waste of County time and money when there are no known noise, parking, or traffic citations against the house concert series you sent the Cease-and-Desist order? Where is the protection against frivolous anonymous complainers?
#10 Boulder County has said it’s legal to have private concerts where musicians can be paid by the host and guests may offer money to the hosts. What’s illegal is putting out a tip jar…a silly distinction.
Anyone needing a reminder of the events leading up to this or want to read past letters of support (at least the ones we got copied on) see
Thanks for wading through this. Comments can be sent at any time before the 16th for the Planning Commission. The Commissioners meeting will likely be in February - date TBD. Comments received before then will also be hopefully read. 3 PM is a difficult time for many people working day jobs to make a public hearing so we’d love your physical support on Wednesday, January 16. Thank you…and Happy New Year!
greg and debbie