Steamboat Springs 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.