Council discusses political signs in the city
June 23, 2010
In other action, the Craig City Council:
• Approved, 5-0, to renew the 3.2 percent retail beer license for Pizza Hut, 1070 W. Victory way.
• Approved, 5-0, to renew the retail liquor license for Eastside Liquor, 539 E. Victory Way.
• Approved, 5-0, to renew the tavern liquor license for Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, 990 Industrial Ave.
• Approved, 5-0, a special events permit for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 for a wedding reception at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion on July 17.
• Approved, 5-0, to award a bid recommendation for a new animal control vehicle to Craig Ford totaling $24,180.50 and to award a bid recommendation for an attached animal carrying unit to Bowie International totaling $16,611.88.
• Approved, 5-0, to award city asphalt work to Connell Resources for $131,999.35 and to add an additional four gravel streets for paving totaling $56,000.
• Approved, 5-0, to award city curb and gutter work to Osmun Inc., totaling $28,589.
• Approved, 5-0, ordinance No. 1005 for the regulation of traffic amending the Craig municipal code and adopting the 2010 edition of the “Model Traffic Code for Colorado Municipalities” with the exception of Section 1409. Second reading.
• Heard a May financial report from finance director Bruce Nelson.
• Heard a monthly report from the wastewater department.
• Heard a monthly report from the water department.
Note: Council members Byron Willems and Ray Beck were absent from the meeting.
With the primary election approaching, several Moffat County candidates have placed campaign signs throughout Craig.
The signs' arrival around the city spurred the Craig City Council to discuss the issue at its Tuesday meeting.
Council member Jennifer Riley brought the issue to the council's attention and said she had received several calls from Craig residents wondering why the signs were being displayed so early.
Riley asked Craig City Manager Jim Ferree if the city had an ordinance in place to manage political signs in city limits.
"People were under the impression that we had a 'not 30-days before an election (rule)' and apparently that is not the case," she said.
Ferree said the old city land use code had a section that addressed political signs, but was somehow omitted when the city amended the code in 2007.
Currently, political signs fall into the category of a temporary sign, which can be displayed for 60 days, Ferree said.
"I think in an election year where there is as many candidates as we have running, there will be a lot of signs," Riley said after the meeting. "That could become problematic if people leave them up between the primary and the general."
The size of the signs and their removal after an election are also currently not addressed due to the section's absence.
"I would be very interested in exploring an ordinance about sign size at least," council member Terry Carwile said.
Ferree said the old code required signs to be posted no more than 30 days before an election, but said he wasn't sure about the size limitations or the time by which they needed to be taken down.
"I think it's fairly standard to have a 30-day rule, but I'll check with some other west slope communities and see," Ferree said.
Ferree said the only mention of political signs in the new land use codes is that they don't require a permit to display.
The council agreed to draft an ordinance to address the matter and Ferree said it would be presented at the council's next meeting.
Carwile said the old size limitation on political signs was 6 square feet.
"I think that is more than reasonable in town," he said.
Political signs being displayed in the city has usually not been a problem in the past, Carwile said.
"I don't have a whole lot of heart burn with 60 days," Carwile said. "But, the strategy with a political campaign is that you are trying to get them up in one fell swoop just a short time before the election so they have good visual impact."
Carwile said he would like to see the signs taken down about a week after an election to help with "sign pollution."
"You set the stage for some mischief," he said. "I mean they get stepped on and they get stolen. Anything you put out in your yard can be vandalized."
Council member Gene Bilodeau said he was hesitant to revisit the issue during council discussions.
"I think we need to be careful at the city level that we don't get into an issue where we create ordinances for every single thing that goes on in our community," he said.
After the meeting, Bilodeau said he was "more receptive" to hearing about the issue from residents.
"If people are putting signs up and they are leaving them up forever, then that's something we do need to address," he said.