Many new sandwich board signs in Steamboat Springs out of compliance with city code |

Many new sandwich board signs in Steamboat Springs out of compliance with city code

Sandwich board signs like this one have been popping up across town

— The city of Steamboat Springs sees all of the new sandwich board signs that have popped up in front of businesses across town this month.

Now, the city’s planning department hopes it starts to see the business owners who put out the signs apply for the sign permits they need to avoid a costly citation.

Code-enforcement officer Barb Wheeler said Tuesday that the city hasn’t received any of the necessary applications for the many signs that have been deployed in the wake of the Steamboat Springs City Council’s decision to temporarily allow the portable signs for the first time.

She said she recently counted about 12 to 15 new portable signs in the city, and many are out of compliance with city code.

The city moved to allow the signs after business owners said they greatly help attract customers into stores and restaurants.

One downtown merchant said the signs were so important to her business that the property owner instructed her to keep it out and offered to pay the fees associated with breaking the rule.

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Wheeler said for liability reasons, there is a long list of rules to which the signs must adhere in order to be in compliance.

"The code says all signs require a permit," Wheeler said.

She said all portable signs require at least a sign permit from the city, which carries a $50 one-time fee.

Anything in the public right of way or sidewalk also requires a revokable permit, which carries a one-time fee of $75 as well as a recording fee from the county.

The signs at Central Park Plaza are unique in that they are on private property and do not require the revokable permit.

The revokable permits release the city from any liability that could result from someone tripping over a sign and injuring themselves or having one blow into the highway and damage a vehicle or cause a crash.

To prevent the latter scenario, all signs must be placed no more than 6 inches from a building and tethered securely to the business.

"We’re going to start enforcing (the rules) this week," Wheeler said. "We wanted to get these rules out there before we get started."

City rules state that any sign holders’ signs deemed in noncompliance will be subject to a municipal court citation with a fine of as much as $999 per day.

Before tickets are issued, Wheeler said business owners with noncompliant signs should expect this week to receive a visit from a code-enforcement officer with a sign application.

Property owners who have questions about the sign code can call Wheeler at 970-871-8274, or read the rules here.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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