Monday, September 27, 2004
Steamboat Springs Sign violations, committed primarily by the real estate community, have prompted the city to look at revising its code.
In the past month, the city has identified sign violations by at least six different real estate agencies. There also have been complaints about real estate signs in the mountain and downtown areas, city officials said.
City Planning Director Steve Stamey said the planning department has received complaints that real estate signs were too numerous, too big and in some cases, in the public right of way.
The city's sign code has different regulations for different uses of signs depending on the length of time they are up. For temporary real estate signs, the sign can be no larger than six square feet, and there is a limit of one sign per lot.
A real estate agent can obtain a permit, Stamey said, for a construction sign, which can be 30 square feet and has a six-month time limit with the option to renew the permit.
Stamey said the enforcement of the code is difficult, mainly because of the short time span the signs are up. Under the code, the offender has a 15-day notice of correction. The city has a gray area in enforcement if the sign is picked up after the notice is given and then put back in the same place five days later. Stamey said it is unclear if that is a separate violation.
Many times, signs are put up just for weekend open houses or doing the holiday season.
When the city rewrote the community development code three years ago, the sign and lighting codes were not changed, City Manager Paul Hughes said. With the process to update the Steamboat Springs Community Area Plan finished, Hughes said the planning department has time to look at revising those two sections of the code.
"We want to find out what the community would like to see; identify that and find out the resources necessary to enforce it," Hughes said.
At a Sept. 21 City Council meeting, Councilwoman Kathy Connell suggested that the real estate community be part of the process in the update, since they represented the lion's share of the violations. "The city needs to look at them for their help in revising this," Connell said.
Hughes said that although the city might be able to crack down on sign violations by the real estate community and other businesses, it is much harder to enforce the ordinance for the signs that come up every weekend for garage and yard sales. He questioned if the city would ever get to that point of enforcement.