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Porky’s Smokehouse faces signage dilemma

Complications emerge amid Bayfield restaurant’s efforts to replace panels in existing Wells Group sign
The Porky’s Smokehouse logo, which the owner wants to use in its sign at the Bayfield restaurant, 581 East Colorado Drive. (Courtesy of bayfieldgov.org)

Dayson Goetz faces a dilemma.

The Porky’s Smokehouse owner wants to replace the two existing fiberglass panels in the existing Wells Group sign in front of the Bayfield restaurant with two new fiberglass panels featuring his eatery’s name.

According to a town ordinance, however, Goetz said the town of Bayfield told him he would need to either replace the existing sign altogether or drop the existing sign to where it is no higher than 10 feet off the ground in order to add the new panels, Goetz said.

Goetz estimates the existing sign is closer to 20 feet high.

Goetz said putting in a new sign outright would cost closer to $10,000, adding that simply incorporating two new panels – one for each side – would cost $4,500.

“That’s the route I want to take,” he said.

The alternative would be to leave the existing sign as it is. Goetz said the problem is that this particular Wells Group location no longer exists and he would have to rely on banners on the side of the building to draw in customers.

“To me, that’s not clean, and it’s very unprofessional,” he said.

The existing Wells Group sign at Porky’s Smokehouse in Bayfield advertises the Wells Group. The restaurant’s owner, Dayson Goetz, wants to replace the sign with a new fiberglass panel featuring his eatery’s name. (Courtesy of bayfieldgov.org)

Goetz filed a variance on June 11 in order to change out the panels.

According to an email Goetz sent to Community Development Director Nicol Killian, he would need to remove shrubs on both sides of the restaurant’s driveway in order to drop it down.

People won’t be able to see the sign or their immediate surroundings upon exiting, Goetz said.

People driving on U.S. Highway 160 wouldn’t be able to see the lowered signs, and customers eating at the restaurant wouldn’t be able to see oncoming traffic when they’re leaving, he said.

“It’s going to be blocking the driveway,” Goetz said, adding that it’s a safety issue.

Killian said in an email to The Durango Herald that the sign Goetz wants to use is considered “legal nonconforming” because it no longer meets the height or size requirements for a free-standing sign as depicted in Land Use Code Section 7-27, which was adopted through Ordinance 421 on April 16, 2019.

“Therefore, if a new business wants to replace the sign face of a legal nonconforming sign, then they need to seek a variance from the Bayfield Planning Commission,” she said.

Killian added that the sign regulations say a free-standing sign can be a maximum of 60 square feet per side and a maximum of 10 feet in height from the ground to the top.

The current sign, which is 8 feet by 9⅚ feet, does not meet those requirements, so it is considered legal nonconforming, Killian said.

According to Article 3, Section 3-14 of the land-use code, which is a three-part process, variances that “allow construction of improvements are valid for a period of six months from the date of approval of the variance.”

“Construction of the improvements to be affected by the variance must have started before the six-month expiration date, or the variance will be declared void,” it added.


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