Glenwood Springs City Council considers allowing Realtors’ open house signs in public rights of way |

Glenwood Springs City Council considers allowing Realtors’ open house signs in public rights of way

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City Council elected to have staff draft an amendment to a city ordinance that would allow real estate agents to post open house signs in the public right of way.

But they came to the decision with concern and hesitation.

Several Councilors, including Leo McKinney, were concerned with permitting a single specific industry in posting signs in the public right of way because it would appear as favoritism to that industry. It would also open the door for other businesses to post signs in the right of way, which McKinney was concerned would clutter the right of way.

“If we do this for one industry it will open the door for others to start putting signs in the public right of way,” McKinney said. “I’m not saying that it will happen, but it opens the door.”

Councilor Matthew Steckler said that he supported the proposed amendment because it would help out one of the county’s, and Glenwood’s, most cash-generating industries.

“Who is hurt by this?” Steckler said. “What other industry is hurt by this if we go forward with this?”

The proposed amendment would allow real estate agents to post up to three directional signs in the public right of way, one hour before an open house. The signs would have to be taken down one hour after the open house, or no later than 8 p.m., whichever is first.

Other towns, such as Vail and Breckenridge, have already approved changes to their public right of way ordinances permitting agents to post up to three directional open house signs for showings.

“Other communities have been very proactive, and it’s been a very good thing,” said Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors Government Affairs Director Sarah Thorsteinson.

Thorsteinson told council that Vail was very receptive to the idea last year when the market began to tank, despite having denied the request one year earlier. She said that Breckenridge has approved the change on a one-year trial basis, and said that both towns have had much success.

“We are trying real hard to comply with the policy,” she said.

Thorsteinson said that the reason for the request is to help out the struggling real estate market, which provides a huge amount of revenue for Glenwood Springs as well as Garfield County.

“Open house signs have been proven to be an affective way to sell homes,” she said. “And we need to get the market going again.”

She added that, while the signs alone would not heal the wounded real estate market, it would help.

“Open house signs are not the answer to solving the economic and housing slump, but they can definitely help,” Thorsteinson said.

Police Chief Terry Wilson gave no opinion on the matter, but he said changes to the ordinance allowing only one specific industry to post signs in the right of way has the potential to create an enforcement problem.

“I’m concerned that if there are alterations to the current code, that we do so in such a way where [police] can still enforce it with some kind of consistency and that we will be able to express it to people so they understand,” Wilson said.

Council voted to have staff draft an amendment to the ordinance, which they will have a chance to review before it’s approved. The amendment must first go to the Glenwood Planning Commission, because a change to the ordinance would require a change to the development code, according to city attorney Jan Shute.

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