Breckenridge tweaks sign code to allow ‘pedicab’ ads
summit daily news
BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Town Council decided Tuesday to revise the town’s sign code prohibiting off-premises signs to allow businesses to advertise on pedicabs and information about civic events to appear on variable message signs used to direct traffic.
Pedicabs are bicycle-powered cabs that have had limited success in the town in the past but which may have renewed interest.
“Several of us (the council members) thought this was a niche for an advancement of bikes,” Mayor John Warner said during the council’s discussion of the code changes. “I would look at it as a way of embracing the self-powered movement of people.”
Other council members noted that signs on pedicabs, or bicycle taxis, tend to be small and will, for the most part, be confined to the business district of town.
The change to the sign code allowing for events to be advertised on variable message signs is part of an ongoing effort to encourage skiers to come into downtown Breckenridge.
“We do have a goal of getting people from the gondola lot to Main Street to spend money with our merchants,” said Councilman Mike Dudick at Tuesday’s meeting.
Neither of the changes was supported unanimously.
Some council members expressed concerns that the changes could threaten the feel of the town, or might be unfair to other businesses, to whom the off-premises sign prohibition would still apply.
“I think this is a really dangerous slope to go down,” Councilman Eric Mamula said at the meeting.
Mamula argued that the exceptions to the sign code might cause other businesses to ask for additional exceptions.
The question of allowing for off-premises signs on bicycle taxis was brought forward by entrepreneurs looking to open a pedicab business in Breckenridge who saw advertising on the cabs as an important source of revenue.
The existing sign code specifically prohibited people from erecting or maintaining signs off-premises except those providing directions to open houses.
The council was somewhat restricted in making the sign code revisions by legal issues. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects commercial speech. Supreme Court decisions have allowed governments to put time, place and manner restrictions on commercial speech, but ordinances that prohibit the content of that speech have been struck down.
SDN reporter Caddie Nath can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or at email@example.com.
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