Real-estate agents want more signs in Breckenridge
Summit County correspondent
Vail CO, Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado ” A group of Breckenridge real-estate agents asked the town council this week to allow more open-house signs, furthering a trend toward grass-roots democracy at town hall.
About 15 members of the real-estate community cited recent economic woes and the town’s dependence on the real-estate transfer tax to support their request.
The town’s existing sign code allows for one “open house” sign on each lot. But properties can be difficult to find among the curving roads without directional signs on main intersections.
Dan Corwin, an agent with Breckenridge Associates Real Estate, said the signs are essential to establishing leads on home sales.
“If people are driving through town and see an open house sign … there’s a chance they might buy that house,” he said.
Visitors are less intimidated to enter an open house than a real-estate office, said Allan Johnson, an agent with Real Estate of the Summit.
“When you have a location that isn’t on a main thoroughfare, that sits back on a cul-de-sac or something, nobody would drive by unless they were lost. And so that’s when signs become important,” he said Thursday.
The group at Tuesday’s meeting brought about 30 letters of support.
Karyn Contino, owner of Executive Resorts Real Estate, said she’s “offended” that the town puts up large banners and allows vendors to conduct temporary business on town streets but doesn’t allow additional real-estate signs.
“We helped grow this community more than any other business (group),” she said.
The council has directed staff to review the existing sign code and discuss possible solutions with the real-estate community.
Mayor John Warner has called Johnson and Corwin, as well as others, to let them know the town will be working with them on the issue.
The democratic approach adopted by the real-estate community is similar to that taken by local skateboarders in recent few months that led to legislation in their favor.
Members of the public take turns at the podium then Warner polls the audience on who’s in support or opposition of such measures. The council later discusses the matter, they share suggestions and send it to staff to work out a compromise.
“That’s how the child-care center got built as well,” said town spokeswoman Kim DiLallo.
This week, the council members agreed the town should look into the sign concern but said that any solution needs to be appropriate for time beyond the present dip in sales.
They suggested that any additional signs be free of logos, tasteful and uniform.
The council also seemed to agree not to allow more signs in the historic district.
“I’d just like to throw these guys a bone on this,” Councilman Rob Millisor said, adding that real-estate sales are down as much as 40 percent.
Councilwoman Jen McAtamney said neighborhoods such as Warrior’s Mark can be difficult for visitors to find without guidance.
Johnson said brokers could work together, as it’s unnecessary to have five signs on a corner all pointing in the same direction.
“(We can) talk with the town to come up with something acceptable so that it minimizes the impact,” he said. “But it has to be something visible so people can see it.”
The town has had the present code regarding open-house signs in place for more than 10 years. DiLallo said the one-sign limit was created, along with limitations for other businesses, to help reduce clutter.
“It has been revisited a couple times in past five years,” she said. “We wish there was a perfect solution out there for everyone concerned.”
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