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Strange signs of the times keep popping up

This sign appears to be on private property, and therefore is perfectly legal. (Courtesy of Andy Oakley)

Dear Action Line: Is there some sort of Second Amendment right that precludes gun shows from regulations about sign permitting, placement, etc.? It seems that promotional signs for certain shows pop up often, sometimes in public spaces. I thought these shows were commercial operations that should be abiding by city, county and state signage, but perhaps I’m mistaken? – Andy Oakley

Dear Andy: How’s your sister Annie doing? And say hi to Buffalo Bill if y’all are still hanging out. Now THERE was a stellar gun show.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, let’s get down to business with this disclaimer: Action Line does not write these questions. Today’s three questions are about signs, and this one is particularly likely to poke a bear. But that is the nature of the journalism business.

We went over the whole who/whom thing a couple weeks ago, but apparently some remedial spelling is needed before advancing to such scholarly questions such as when, where, why, how and when to use whom. (Courtesy of Signed Off)

This first one seems sort of political, and Action Line can feel the heat already. Let’s just stick with facts.

If the sign is small and temporary, and is on private land, as this one appears to be, it does not need a permit, said Bryce Bierman, a planner with Durango’s Community Development Department.

Examples include realty signs and political signs. And, of course, it’s important to get permission from the landowner.

Steve Barkley, code enforcement officer with the Durango Police Department, said that if signs such as these are seen on public property within city limits, they are removed by code officers.

Dear Action Line: With all the vinyl signs flapping in the wind, Durango looks more ragtag every day. Are there any city ordinances dealing with these ugly signs? One at a north Main Avenue business caught my eye. “Wecome”? Really? Don’t sign makers use spill check? If a Django city sign ordainess exists, does it address sine mistspillings? – Signed Off

Dear Signed Off: As far as the second issue here, the grammar police may have to take this into its own hands. “We don’t regulate content,” city planner Bierman said.

Action Line has been known to fix a typo on a lost dog poster or guitar-for-sale sign, but climbing up on a building to fix a vinyl sign, flapping or not, is probably a little bit out of reach.

As far as regulations go, a vinyl sign such as this banner is OK for special events, but not as permanent singing – um, signing. When hanging this type of sign, the business owner must fill out a registration form with the city, which is good for two weeks, Bierman said.

If you saw this sign recently advertising the sale at the dearly departing Durango Mall store, you saw a city ordinance being broken. (Courtesy of Above and Beyond)

Dear Action Line: My friend was ticketed a while back for having a “For Sale” sign on his old truck parked at a highly visible road intersection. Apparently, there is an ordinance about signs on vehicles. Now I keep seeing a car driving all over town advertising a store clearance sale with a huge sign on top. Is there an ordinance that deals with this? If not, what’s next? – Above and Beyond

Dear A&B: So, you can drive a moving vehicle around with a sign above your car, but once you stop the vehicle and park it, you’re violating a city ordinance. This is true.

You can’t park in a public right-of-way to advertise a vehicle for sale or display advertising or other profit-making activity, according to Section 24-51 of the Durango city code of ordinances.

Action Line again contacted go-to source Steve Barkley, city code enforcement officer, to see what happens when you’re driving around. Things change a bit, according to Section 3-6-3-1-C-10-a/b of the city’s Land Use Development Code.

“Signs may only temporarily be attached to the exterior of vehicles i.e. roofs or truck beds and they may be no larger than four (4) square feet. … When such signing is on a vehicle that is parked or located in the vicinity of the business, the sign must be removed.”

Got it? In plain speak, if the advertising sign atop the vehicle is under 4 square feet and is moving, it’s fine.

There is an obvious problem with this sign. By using special computer telemetry and a bit of A.I., Action Line can make a reasonable estimate that this sign is somewhere closer to 12 square feet than 4 square feet.

Too big, and illegal.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Essential trivia: Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was actually a stage name for Phoebe Ann Moses. “Annie” bested marksman and future husband Frank Butler in a shooting match in 1876 in Oakley, Ohio.

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