Real estate signs get the right-of-way OK |

Real estate signs get the right-of-way OK

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Real Estate agents in Glenwood Springs received good news from City Council Thursday, when they agreed to allow them to post open house signs in the public right-of-way.

City Council voted 4-2 in favor of the proposed amendment for a one-year trial period. At which time, council will be able to review how well the change has worked and if the agents have lived up to their end of the bargain in complying with the regulations.

Changes in the current ordinance include size, placement and time restrictions for the signs. The changes will also allow for agents to place up to two off-site directional open house signs. However, those signs won’t be permitted within 15 feet of an intersection. Signs will also have to include contact and identification information as to who the sign belongs.

It will be illegal for signs to obstruct any street, sidewalk or recreation path. And directional signs will still be prohibited on any state highway or interstate, all railroad right-of-ways, as well as, in medians, roundabouts, cul-de-sacs, concrete islands and on utility poles or equipment, public landscape beautification areas, trees and fire hydrants. Also, signs may not impede sight lines of motorists, or the safe movement of pedestrians or vehicles.

Real Estate agents requested city council amend the current ordinance prohibiting signs posted in the public’s right-of-way in order to help spur home sales in the ailing real estate market.

Glenwood Real Estate agent Mandy Murray told council that open house signs are a critical aspect of selling a home, especially in today’s market.

“I’m not the same as any other business who is advertising because they have a set location,” Murray said. “That is the reason I need the directional signs, because that is how people can find me.”

Murray said that traditional forms of advertising an open house, such as with the newspaper, aren’t yielding the results that they used to.

“It’s a moving target and we need those signs to point people in the right direction,” she said.

Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors Government Affairs Director Sarah Thorsteinson told councilors that the signs have been proven to help sell properties, citing a 2008 National Association of Realtors home buyer and seller profile report. Thorsteinson said the report found that 48 percent of all buyers use open house signs as a source for their home search process.

Councilor Shelley Kaup agreed saying that the real estate industry is important to Glenwood Springs, and was supportive of allowing the industry the opportunity to use the signs on a one-year-trial period, which councilor Leo McKinney suggested.

“I do believe that selling homes is different than other retail type businesses,” Kaup said. “But I like the sunset provision to evaluate the program and how it’s working.”

But some councilors took issue with the amendment being in direct conflict with the city’s existing sign ordinance, which was created to limit the amount of clutter in the right-of-way. McKinney noted that the newly constructed roundabout at 27th Street and Midland Avenue is already a prime spot with the potential for abuse.

“There is already clutter that is there with necessary signs,” McKinney said. “I think we are opening the door to a lot more clutter.”

And some, including Mayor Bruce Christensen, did not approve of showing one industry preferential treatment.

“I have a huge problem with preferential treatment,” Christensen said. “There are a lot of businesses in this community that are on life support, and if we are opening the door to basically throw our sign code out the window, then we should open that window to anybody.”

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