Palisade residents are gearing up to oppose a 60-foot tall, lit gas station sign that Golden Gate Petroleum, the owners of a proposed 11-pump gas station and convenience store to be built at the Exit 42 offramp in Palisade.
Current town code limits signs to 20 feet in height. Golden Gate says people on I-70 won’t be able to see a 20 foot sign. The Palisade Town Council has already bent the rules and handed the company a variance to build a 60-foot sign, but they shouldn’t have caved so easily. Their town is really worth the fight.
Dozens of Palisade residents are organizing to appeal the variance to keep what will undoubtedly be a brightly-lit gas station sign at a maximum height of 20 feet.
Palisade’s idyllic rural character and agricultural appeal are at stake. In Colorado, lots of communities with priceless vistas put strict limits on the size, shape, position and brightness of commercial signage to preserve their towns’ character and special vistas, and their town councils don’t cave on their code when asked. Think of towns like Vail, Aspen, Telluride, Eagle and other beautiful mountain communities that guard their vistas and appealing appearance like gold. Palisade should value itself the same way. It’s character and appearance should merit the same protection. Moreover, drivers going through Vail, Eagle and Aspen manage to find gas, grocery stores and restaurants in those towns without any difficulty.
Fortunately, there’s a way to solve this problem that should keep everyone happy:
The Town of Palisade can stick to it’s guns on its 20 foot height limit on signage and Golden Gate Petroleum can build it’s gas station and still be able to pull plenty of people off I-70. Golden Gate just has to pay an annual fee of a few hundred dollars to have those big blue highway gas station signs put up on both sides of I-70 well before Palisade letting motorists know gas is available at Exit 42. Those big blue signs, called “Tourist-Oriented Directional Signage,” are put up and maintained by a private company called, Colorado Logos, Inc.,which charges an annual fee for them.
The cost of the sign is based on the typical number of cars that go by Exit 42, and the signs themselves are huge, highly reflective and can’t be missed. Anyone driving on I-70 who needs gas will already be looking for one of these signs.
Problem solved! The gas station sign will stay within the 20 foot limit, no variance is needed, Palisade keeps its character and doesn’t compromise it’s values or it’s duty to protect the community from unseemly development. Every driver on I-70 will see that gas is available at Exit 42. The annual cost of the highway signs will likely compete quite favorably with the huge expense of putting up and maintaining a big, bright 60 foot sign. Colorado Logos has a few requirements to qualify for the sign, like the gas station needs to be open 16 hours a day, serve water, have restrooms and be within three miles of the offramp, but the enterprise will probably easily fulfill all these requirements anyway.
Palisade residents can be spared a battle and the town board can be spared a bruising if it values Palisade enough to stick to it’s current, well-thought-out code and help Golden Gate pursue big highway signage instead of the towering, glowing 60-footer they think they need.