Wednesday, January 13, 2010

As We Previously Reported, Real Estate Sign Fees Remain

Here is The Explorer article on the Sign fees for Real Estate "Open House."
Interesting to note that Mayor Loomis,KC Carter & Real Estate agent Al Kunisch voted "no" on a fee that was imposed in 2003, but NOT collected until 2008.

Once again, Loomis & Carter, both of whom are seeking reelection, voted for a Special Interest Group, rather than the vast majority of citizens of Oro Valley.

Council says 'no' to sign code change
Fees for real estate signs to remain in place

By Patrick McNamara, The Explorer
The Oro Valley Town Council has voted to retain current fees charged to real estate firms for open house signs, despite pleas for relief at the Jan. 6 council meeting.

"We're hampering the sale of these houses," said Councilman Al Kunisch, who supported a change. K.C. Carter and Mayor Paul Loomis joined him in voting against the current fee structure. Council members Bill Garner, Barry Gillaspie, Salette Latas and Pat Spoerl voted to keep the structure in place.

Currently, the town charges each real estate broker a $1,000 annual fee to put open house signs in the public right-of-way, areas such as street corners and medians. Town estimates say the cost of enforcing the rules is about $31,000 per year.

The council considered various options for change based on a sliding scale depending on the number of agents working under each broker. Numerous real estate agents were at the meeting, asking the council to adopt fee changes that would ease the burden on smaller offices. But the council declined, noting problems the change would create in tracking how many agents work for each brokerage.

"I think it's a perfectly fair and perfectly reasonable cost of doing business," Latas said. Latas also noted other jurisdictions in the region do not allow such signs to be placed in public rights-of-way. Town staffers noted the levels of enforcement in other jurisdictions are minimal.

Garner agreed. In a later interview, he noted the difficulty of using sliding scales.

"I couldn't find anything that we collect that's on a sliding scale," Garner said.

He also noted that in 2003, a previous council voted to change the fees from $20 per year to the current levels. The problem has been that the town stopped collecting any fees after the changes were made.

"It was our error," he said.

The fee issue could be revisited later in the year, when the council undertakes a comprehensive review of the entire sign code.


mscoyote said...

Not allowing the signs in the public right of way is the norm from what I am reading.
If so, why is Oro Valley allowing the signs, regardless of the fee?

artmarth said...

mscoyote--- Your point has seemed to become moot, although we feel that is the crux of the issue.

That, plus the fact that nobody ever complained that $20 was being collected for 5 years, rather the correct amount of $1000.

As we noted in a previous posting, had it not been for Bill Garner's diligence, this oversight would have continued indefinitely.

Kudos to Bill for once again looking out for the citizens of Oro Valley.