Vail’s new sign code could help small business
The town of Vail has long discussed the town sign code ordinances, trying to reach the perfect balance between allowing businesses the opportunity to promote their business while maintaining the scenic atmosphere of a mountain town. Finally, there is an answer.Beginning in 2006, the Vail Town Council reviewed current sign regulations in Vail Village and Lionshead and then directed the community development department to make modifications, with input from the Vail Chamber, the Economic Advisory Council, and the Planning and Environmental Commission. The code has since evolved into a much different document.One of the most significant changes to the code deals with outdoor displays. Previously, displays were only allowed on leased land or on town property during a special event. The new change allows businesses to sign one-year leases of town land for the purpose of displaying their merchandise.Here are some of the details. A complete copy of Ordinance 32 is available at our office or the town of Vail.Purpose Businesses located in buildings without adequate privately-owned exterior space may obtain a license to use adjacent town-owned property for outdoor display of goods, for the purpose of increasing the vibrancy and economic vitality of the commercial cores. Permit requiredA permit is required for any person or retail establishment to use town-owned property or other publicly-owned sidewalks or rights-of-way. Such businesses must secure a permit for an outdoor display on public property. That permit shall be issued by the town administrator and may be approved for a time period of up to five years. Prior to final approval of a permit, the retail establishment shall enter into a license agreement with the town of Vail, to be executed by the town attorney.CriteriaOutdoor display of goods on town-owned property must be at specific locations for use by a specific retail establishment approved by the town. Retail establishments may be allowed to use town-owned property for the use of outdoor display if the following conditions are met: The retail establishment shall be located in an approved zone district, and the area of town-owned property shall be a maximum of 20 square feet (for bicycles, 40 square feet). The location must be directly adjacent to the business frontage, and the outdoor display shall not impede pedestrian movement in and around doorways, stairways, etc. A display shall not pose any risks to public safety or impede access to trash, snow removal, etc., and cannot have a negative effect on the aesthetics of the town. Lourdes Ferzacca is President of the Vail Chamber & Business Association Board of Directors.