DEADWOOD — While the Deadwood City Commission agrees the current shuttle ordinance that limits downtown transportation to the trolley and taxis is outdated and the members do not have a ordinance developed to replace it.
With casino officials in attendance at Monday’s commission meeting, the city commission voted 4-1 to extend the current moratorium on the enforcement of ordinance 44.010, six more months.
“We’ll set up a task force to solve the issue,” said Deadwood Mayor Francis Toscana, who requested that anyone who wishes to serve on a task force regarding the issue contact the finance office this week.
The ordinance, which has been lifted for now, prohibits hotel and convention center properties from shuttling to and from their hotels to other locations within the Deadwood city limits.
In April, a 90-day moratorium on the ordinance was enacted to gauge its relevance in today’s marketplace. In June, a further extension on the moratorium was granted so that all businesses affected by a change in the ordinance could meet and examine the pros and cons of amending the ordinance.
With the extension of the last moratorium, should their property provide it, hotel guests at locals throughout Deadwood are now able to take advantage of hotel shuttle services anywhere in town.
Now Toscana believes that a further — at least six month — extension is needed in order to feasibly and soundly develop a new ordinance.
“If we want to change the ordinance, let’s change the ordinance,” Toscana said. “But what I’m suggesting is that we need a fairly lengthy moratorium to give the city attorney time to get an ordinance in place with the correct verbiage.”
Deadwood City Commissioner Gary Todd said that the issue has taken so long because of an effort to “make everybody happy.”
“I just don’t think that’s going to happen,” Todd said. “But I do think we need some accountability as to who runs shuttles. I would like to see it limited to those who hold convention center liquor licenses, so we know exactly who’s going to run a shuttle, so we don’t have just anybody running a shuttle.
Deadwood City Commissioner Jim VanDenEykel was the sole dissenting vote on the further six month extension of the current moratorium.
“Looking at this, it’s been 10, 11 months now,” VanDenEykel said. “The ordinance is old, it was set there for various reasons, many casinos were operating their own shuttles and it was clogging up the streets, but I don’t think the ordinance appeals to what we have now with the addition of the convention center at The Lodge at Deadwood and enhanced entertainment attractions at Deadwood Mountain Grand.”
Speaking on behalf of BID 7 and the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Director George Milos raised the concern that a further extension of the moratorium would affect upcoming convention booking.
“I don’t think that six months is any better than three months,” Milos said. “I also don’t think that damage has been done to the taxis and as far as I know, it has not hurt the trolley, either.”
Local taxi cab owners have questioned the ordinance and want to ensure that the hotel shuttle services are held to the same guidelines and restrictions that they were required to follow with their own businesses, beginning approximately one year ago.
“It’s not fair for everyone else to put whoever they want in shuttles when the taxis have to follow certain rules and regulations,” said Deadwood City Commissioner Georgeann Silvernail. “I also think we should limit it to those who hold convention center liquor licenses.”