Fruita debates rules on heights of ad signs

Officials, residents gather to discuss effects on views in city

Red balloons floating in the air, usually a sign of a happy occasion, have some Fruita residents disgusted.

Recently, the city of Fruita used balloons, floating at 75 and 100 feet in the air, to demonstrate what freestanding signs on poles for commercial businesses might look like at different heights if the sign code is revised.

Fruita resident Sonia Swartz doesn’t want any “visual pollution” obstructing her view of the town.

Fruita business owners say taller signage is necessary to attract customers traveling east on Interstate 70, said Clint Kinney, Fruita city manager.

Right now, businesses on the south side of town are allowed to have 8-foot-high monument signs that sit on the ground.

Swartz is sympathetic to the plight of Fruita businesses, but she said she’d rather see them advertise in different ways, like putting brochures at the visitor’s center.

At a presentation to business owners and concerned Fruita residents Wednesday night at Dinosaur Journey Museum, officials from the city, the Colorado Department of Transportation and a marketing firm hired by the city spoke about types of possible signs, what’s illegal and what’s legal.

Digitally altered images of what the Fruita landscape might look like with 100-foot-high pole signs and shorter for Taco Bell, City Market and gas stations were available for viewing at the meeting.

The city would also like to market itself better with directional banners designed by the firm Cobb & Associates that lead people to the “Southside Marketplace” and “Historic Downtown.”

“What we’re really trying to do is educate,” Kinney said. “It’s complicated and we want people to understand the pros and cons of what we’re saying.”

Swartz, who has lived in Fruita for two and a half years, wants the city to maintain its small town atmosphere and not increase the heights of commercial advertising signs.

She said she’s not opposed to the other recommendations on the sign code, such as expanding rules on signs attached to businesses, increasing the size of signs that project from buildings or the use of paint on business windows for decoration.

The city will likely hold public hearings on this matter in April, Kinney said. Anyone who wants to comment now can call 858-0786 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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