City resolving sign code issue

Crackdown results in discussion of notification process

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— A recent crackdown on violators of the Steamboat Springs sign ordinance has prompted discussion between realtors and city officials to change the notification process for people in violation of the code.

In early June, the city's code enforcement officers issued about 30 summonses to violators of the sign code, according to Code Enforcement Officer Christy Patterson. Violations included signs larger than the code allows and signs in the public right of way, among others.

Violators included many Realtors who said they were not properly notified prior to receiving a summons, Mark Stine, president of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, said Wednesday.

"The issue wasn't with the actual sign code," Stine said, adding that the process of notifying violators caused a problem with many realtors.

Patterson said the normal process of notifying violators is to mail a letter that states a violation has occurred, allowing the responsible person 72 hours to fix the situation. If the situation is not rectified in that time period, a second letter is sent giving 24 hours to correct the problem. If no action is taken in that time period, a summons is issued.

According to Stine, many managing brokers said they had not received a notification letter prior to receiving a summons. Stine also said it is unknown where the breakdown in the process occurred.

"Once it was brought to my attention, I met with Alan Lanning to discuss the issue," Stine said.

City Manager Alan Lanning's future with the city was called into question after a June 30 evaluation by the Steamboat Springs City Council. Some council members expressed concerns about Lanning's interaction with the community. City Council President Pro-tem Cari Hermacinski has identified the crackdown on sign code violators as one incident that could have been handled in a more personal manner.

Stine said that he found Lanning "wonderful to work with" and "very responsive and respectful" to the concerns of the Board of Realtors while still being "forthright on the city's perspective." He said he met with Lanning and City Attorney Tony Lettunich a number of times during the past month and they are all working on an improved notification process for violators of the sign code.

Instead of mailing a letter, Stine suggested that the city send an e-mail notifying the person responsible for the violation and giving them 24 hours to fix the situation. After action is taken, the violator would then have to take a picture to prove the situation had been fixed and e-mail the picture back to the code enforcement officer. The city then would have 24 hours to validate that the issue had been resolved.

Although no official changes to the process have been made, Stine said there are tentative plans to meet with Lanning, Lettunich and possibly other city officials to further discuss the issue soon.

City Councilman Scott Myller said such a crackdown hadn't happened for three or four years.

Lanning said the increased enforcement is a result of new city hires.

"It wasn't an unwillingness for us to do that, it was just a lack of personnel," Lanning said earlier this month. He also stressed a willingness to resolve the sign issue with the real estate community.

Patterson said the fact that there were so many people in violation prompted code enforcement.

"If you're in violation, you should expect to be notified," she said.

Comments

another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

I like the idea of picking up the signs that are in violation and having the broker come get them. That would solve things quickly with a lot less noise.

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steamboatsprings 6 years, 5 months ago

Lets take down all of the business signs too while we are at it problem is they all serve a necessary function of helping to match buyer and seller of goods and homes. The city just needs to act with some courtesy and notify people when there is a change in policy

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Tesla is still a favorite of mine. "Edison's Medicine" and "What You Give" are killer tracks!

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 5 months ago

Sometimes people need to hold a public position to further personal agendas.

Steamboat springs is a real estate town, realtors should play by different rules.

And sorry about your luck Nerny and Lanning; when they say jump, you should say "how high".

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 5 months ago

Most other communities and/or HOAs just pick up the signs, some trash them, others have you come down to the police dept. and pick them up. I personally favor out lawing real estate signs all together, through out the city, nothing but blight, there is not a attractive one out there, and soon there could be thousands. When the public wants to know whats for sale, they would have to contact a Realtor.........

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justathought 6 years, 5 months ago

"brokers said they had not received a notification letter prior to receiving a summons", is that the norm... break all the rules you want until official notification? Why should the citizens pay for code enforcements time, office staff time (2 letters) and postage to ASK the realtors to comply with the law? IF YOU got a summons, pay the fine and move on, you were breaking the law and it's not like there is jail time involved, maybe next time you'll just automatically comply. How many other rules are you expected to give 2 written notifications on before you're allowed to do your job Mr. Lanning?

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vanguy 6 years, 5 months ago

Forget about the fact that realtors are involved for one minute.

The point of the issue is that there is a specific process for handling violations, and this process was not followed by the city staff, and that the summons were targeted at a specific group of citizens.

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Steve Lewis 6 years, 5 months ago

As one who served last year with Scott Myllar and Cari Hermancinski on City planning commission, I'm surprised that Scott and Cari now voice the loudest concerns with these sign code enforcements.

Because when city staff asked for planning commission direction on ways to reduce widespread non-compliance with the sign codes, I believe Scott and Cari joined myself in the consenus commission direction to staff - a stronger effort at enforcing existing codes (rather than increased penalties, etc) was the appropriate direction for the City to take.

Its good to see Mark Stine engaging on the sign problems. Thanks for the positive followup story, Pilot.

Now please also follow through on that other city councilor's complaint you printed - Audits of Building Permit valuations. -Steve Lewis

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QuitYerWhining 6 years, 5 months ago

Hear, hear, JustaThought.....You hit the nail on the head. The realtors know that they get a couple of warnings so what the hey...get away with what you can for as long as you can. That's why rules have to be written and why enforcement has to be stringent...because a few people don't do the right thing. And realtors wonder why they get a bad rap. Its time for the real estate community to start policing their own. My suggestion to the city would be issue an immediate cease and desist... in person ...one warning....then you get a citation. This childish cat and mouse game should stop.

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madmoores 6 years, 5 months ago

"And the sign says you got to have a membership card to get inside....uuuuuuh.... Signs, signs, everywhere a sign F'ing up the scenery, breakin' my mind Do this Don't do that Can't you read the siiiiiign..."

Long haired creepy people need not apply....

(From: Tesla, 5-man acoustical jam, not sure who really wrote it though)

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snowysteamboat 6 years, 5 months ago

Five Man Electrical Band

Canadian band from the 70's.

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flotilla 6 years, 5 months ago

actually, tesla did a 5 man acoustical jam album. very good. check it out.

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bubba 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, the album by Tesla was titled 5 Man Acoustical Jam, whereas the song 'Signs' is a cover of a song recorded by Five Man Electrical Band.

As usual, knowitall has provided us with a well thought out, intelligent comment which shows not only his/her ability to read and comprehend an article, but to go on to formulate a clever, insightful comment that is relevant to the subject matter.

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steamberg 6 years, 5 months ago

NO MORE SIGNS PERIOD. Get rid of every single sign in the city limits including real estate signs, fsbo signs, construction signs, painter signs, garage sale signs, and most of all political signs . . . then the city will not have to worry about who is in violation and we will be able to see the street signs again.

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madmoores 6 years, 5 months ago

Not a huge Tesla fan but I brought up that one particular lyric for a reason, the very reason it stated..."And the sign says you got to have a membership card to get inside". Because of booming realty, Steamboat is bound to be gated in the future to keep those "long haired creepy people" out. Realtors are doing a job I would not want anything to do with and their clients are buying and they have money...whaddaya do? I do agree the signage is way over the top, dosen't Steamboat have code enforcement? There must be a sinage code in the charter right? It does clutter the place up and when election time comes, I really hate that. Maybe I wouldn't if they would come get their damn signs when it is all over.

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techno_babble 6 years, 5 months ago

mad,

Steamboat does have a sign code, but it is enforced only occasionally. The code gets most enforcement with new or existing businesses. Notice the 'golden arches' don't seem quite like those in other towns? Yep, sign code.

As to the political signs - like everything political they have exempted themselves from the rules. So the sign code does not apply to your neigbor covering their lawn with candidate and issues signage.

There is a code, however, about putting political signs on public property. Not allowed (but often violated).

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steamboatwatchdog 6 years, 5 months ago

I hope they follow through with this issue and enforce the sign code. Often times they are free advertising left up long after the property has sold. They hope to show potential buyers other properties while leaving up as many signs around town as possible. One of the oldest tricks in the book. "I know the property you are interested in has been spoken for, but let me show you one for double the price"....it must work on occasion or they wouldn't use this strategy.

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