Board of Realtors decides to eliminate ‘for sale’ signs |

Board of Realtors decides to eliminate ‘for sale’ signs

Andre SalvailThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Calling the move a “giant step” toward enhancing the character of Aspen’s neighborhoods, directors of the Aspen Board of Realtors voted unanimously to ask its members to remove all outdoor signs advertising residential properties and services by June 15.The group, which has more than 600 members in Aspen and across the Roaring Fork Valley, even has a name for its effort to get rid of what it described as “eyesores”: “The Great Aspen Realtor Sign Off!” “A world-class community needs a world-class sign code,” said Gary Feldman, managing partner of Aspen real estate firm Joshua & Co. “The (board of directors) chose to eliminate the ‘for sale’ sign altogether. I am proud to be a part of an organization that cares so much about the community it serves.”Other communities across the United States, including Vail, already have taken steps to eliminate or reduce outdoor real-estate signage, which some consider to be a form of pollution.The decision is a recommendation, not an order, since the board has no enforcement authority, said Stacey Rinker, the board’s executive vice president. The resolution deals with residential brokers and properties only, because organizers of the initiative deemed that indoor window advertising for commercial real estate doesn’t have the same negative visual impact as outdoor signs in yards and along sidewalks. Around 30 board members voted Thursday at the Aspen Square hotel, according to board president Bennett Bramson. He added that while the board is asking its member real estate companies for voluntary cooperation, it might go to the Aspen City Council this summer to ask for some type of code amendment that would officially eliminate the signs. “We’re hoping to avoid getting into the enforcement mode, or the city getting into the enforcement mode, because once that happens they may get fined, they may get cited, their signs may get taken away,” Bramson said. “We have to remember why we’re doing this. It’s for the benefit of Aspen and the community.” Earlier in the day at the same location, the Board of Realtors’ group of managing brokers met for their monthly forum and decided to recommend the voluntary measure to the full board. The brokers group received input over the last four months from many members who “energetically supported” the initiative, a news release states. According to the release, those members include: Feldman and Joshua Saslove of Joshua & Co.; B.J. and Michael Adams of B.J. & Co.; and Chuck Frias of Frias Co. However, some members said that several other agents, managing brokers and directors helped to spearhead and support the effort, including Andrew Ernemann, Mark Ronay and Bill Stirling. Input was sought at every turn, Bramson said.”We made every attempt to ensure that this was a very inclusionary process,” he said. On Friday, he noted that discussions among managing brokers, directors and others have been under way since last fall. Many signs – such as the ones that line Highway 82 east of the Castle Creek Bridge that aren’t touting the properties where they stand – are simply an eyesore and don’t speak well of the community, Bramson said. Some members argued that numerous “for sale” signs in a single area send the wrong message of a city that has an oversupply or a depressed market. Others noted that signs that advertise a company’s services are unnecessary given the modern advances in marketing technology and social media.The recommendation applies to properties in the Aspen city limits only and does not suggest that downvalley brokers follow suit. “I’m one of those who feels, ‘You know what, I’m not going to suffer from this,'” Bramson said. “People are gonna find a Realtor they want to work with in Aspen, and it’s very easy to find us. Any one of us can find the real estate you’re looking for.” He said he had yet to hear any negative feedback from Board of Realtors members since Thursday’s decision. “At the meetings we have had, we have had a great deal of discussion, and people have raised the pros and cons,” Bramson said. “But I wouldn’t even call it a debate.”

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