Election sign regulations in place for town and county

By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

For the upcoming general election on Nov. 3, participants in the election must abide by both Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs’ sign code regulations.

According to the town’s sign regulations, political signs can be 6 square feet or smaller.

However, political signs can be displayed no sooner than 45 days before the sponsored political event; therefore, for the upcoming general election, signs can be displayed starting on Sept. 19.

Following the election, political signs must be removed within three days, meaning that, following the primary election on Tuesday of this week, signs must be removed by July 3. Following the general election, signs must be removed before Nov. 7. 

According to the town’s regulations, only one sign per candidate or ballot issue is allowed per lot and signs can only be placed on private property with the property owner’s permission.

Political signs that are posted on any public property or within a public road or alley right of way are prohibited, according to the town’s sign regulations.

Signs that are larger than 6 square feet and smaller than 10 square feet are only allowed with an approved temporary sign permit application.

To get such an application, citizens are encouraged to contact the town’s Planning Department for the application.

For any additional questions, contact the Town of Pagosa Springs Planning Department at 264-4151, ext. 235.

Senior Planner Cindy Schultz noted she understands how important it is for candidates to mobilize and garner support.

“I think from our standpoint and the public’s standpoint, it’s really about that visual clutter and having extra signage in yards,” she said.

Removing the signs within three days of the election seems reasonable to the town, Schultz added.

“We don’t go out and start pulling them out of people’s yards,” she said. “We ask that people remove them within three days after the event as the whole point of the sign in the first place is done.”

The town has not had to enforce penalties in the past, and the town does not fine people who violate sign code regulations.

“This is really a request-based regulation,” she said.

County regulations

Archuleta County’s sign code regulations follow the same three principles with slight differences to each, according to Development Director Brad Callender in an interview on Tuesday.

According to Callender, the county’s political sign regulations outline that the total area of all signs on a lot does not exceed 16 square feet.

“You could have three signs as long as they don’t go over 16 square feet,” he said. “You get 16 square foot of signage per property, basically.”

Signs can be placed no sooner than 60 days in advance of the election and must be taken down within seven days of the election, Callender explained.

If political signs are in violation of the county’s regulations, the county will have to make individual contact with each property owner -— something that Callender described as “challenging.”

“We’re not going to go out and look specifically for people who haven’t taken down their signs,” he said. “We’re pretty much just complaint-based enforcement.”

This story was posted on July 8, 2020.