Basalt council to reconsider outdoor TVs
Basalt might not be ready for outdoor televisions after all.
The Basalt Town Council has decided to reconsider its Sept. 10 decision not to uphold a staff interpretation that outdoor TVs violate the town’s lighting code. That decision split the council 4-3, and it meant that Sopris Drive homeowner Garrett Reuss was allowed to keep a TV on his outdoor, second-story patio.
But Councilman Mark Kittle, who led the charge not to interfere with outdoor TVs in the Sept. 10 meeting, said last week that he changed his mind.
“It got thrown at us really quickly,” Kittle said at a meeting Sept. 24. He made a motion to reconsider the status of outdoor TVs at the council’s Oct. 8 meeting, and it was approved by the full board.
“Right now we’re just taking back our vote altogether,” Mayor Jacque Whitsitt said at the meeting.
The TV tussle emerged last spring after Reuss constructed a house at 303 E. Sopris Drive. He put a TV on the outdoor patio, facing south or toward downtown. Several neighbors complained and forced town officials to weigh in on the matter. The Technical Review Committee, composed of town employees, ruled April 5 that an outdoor TV violates the lighting code. The code prohibits lighting that “flashes, moves, flickers, changes color or involves intermittent electrical pulsation.”
Residents of the neighborhood submitted a petition to the town April 17 complaining that Reuss ignored the town’s order to remove the TV. Reuss appealed the technical review committee’s decision, and the matter ended in the lap of the council.
Kittle, Whitsitt and Councilmen Herschel Ross and Glenn Rappaport voted Sept. 10 that the lighting code didn’t apply to outdoor TVs. Kittle said at the time, “I’m getting tired of making rules for every little thing.”
Council members Karin Teague, Rick Stevens and Rob Leavitt voted to uphold the Technical Review Committee’s finding that a TV does violate the lighting code.
Reuss has indicated he won’t go down without a fight. He was represented by attorney David Myler at the Sept. 10 meeting.
Prior to the council’s finding that an outdoor TV doesn’t violate the lighting code, Myler stated the town would have trouble banning Reuss’ outdoor TV. He noted that Reuss was given a certificate of occupancy for his house by the town when it was apparent the outdoor TV was in place.
Ross said at the Sept. 24 meeting that he hopes Reuss and his neighbors come to the Oct. 8 meeting with a compromise worked out so the council doesn’t have to act.
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Basalt town government officials feared the worse when the coronavirus struck and soured the economy. They figured the town coffers would suffer a huge blow. Instead, sales tax collections have surged above the amount at this time last year.