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City Planning & Zoning frustrates some merchants

by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- The city Planning and Zoning Committee is making slow progress toward getting a new sign code for the city of Walsenburg, and some merchants are frustrated.
Karen Wilson of La Plaza Inn and Hugh & Denise Brown of First Choice Market attended last week’s meeting to get updates on their proposed signage plans.
Wilson wants to put an awning over the front of her entrance that would run from the door to the street curb. Poles would support the awning near the edge of the sidewalk. Awnings like this are shown in the International Sign Code that the city is adopting. However, some members of the Planning & Zoning Committee had questions about the plan. Some felt that an awning covering the sidewalk might impede foot traffic while others expressed concerns about the poles being struck by cars pulling into parking spaces.
Wilson told the board that awnings like this are seen in many places and don’t block the walking area of the sidewalk. Putting the poles a few inches back from the curb should prevent damage from parked vehicles. Chairman John Carlson suggested Wilson might want to get a historical district set up with other surrounding businesses first before seeking approval of that kind of awning. Wilson didn’t see the need to involve other businesses for an individual business request. The matter is still undecided.
The Browns approached the P&Z board about putting an off-premise sign on W. 7th. Permission was denied earlier this summer because the 1975 ordinance didn’t allow for it. The board voted earlier this month to look into allowing off-premise signs, but board members were not ready to approve any yet.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has said they will be willing to come in and look at Main & W. 7th Streets to determine what signs are acceptable and which ones might not be. Carlson wants to get that input before moving forward on the issue. This did not sit well with the Browns who claim their business is being stifled by a lack of off-premise signage.