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Government Affairs Monthly Report

05-1-2020

Sign Code Changes at Planning Board; then on to City Council

As you’ve surely heard, Steamboat Springs is updating their municipal sign code to conform with guidelines that came from a Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that prohibited signs from being regulated based on “content”. What that means is that “1-800-Buy Junk” signs cannot be treated any differently in the sign code as real estate directional signs, temporary advertisements, or anything else.

SSBR has been working with the city every step of the way and has been monitoring the progress of this issue. They likely end result is that off sight directional signs will be prohibited in the public right of way, as will any other sign. Off site directional signs would still be allowed to be placed on private property with owner permission. SSBR has made clear the importance of directional signs within our area, as many times GPS directions can be misleading.
The code updates should appear before the Planning and Zoning Commission soon. The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the pace of this and other issues, but we’ll make sure to notify membership when it’s up for a vote. After P&Z, the issue will move to City Council. More information on the code update can be found here: https://steamboatsprings.net/561/Sign-Code-Update

Safer at Home Allows Time for Wildfire Season Preparation for More than Half of State’s Residents Living in WUI

While COVID-19 has changed facets of Coloradans’ personal and professional lives and required residents everywhere to stay at home, for more than half of the state’s population who live in a wildfire prone area, the stay at home and safer at home mandates present an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming wildfire season.
With Wildfire Preparedness Day on Saturday, May 2 and Wildfire Awareness Month in May, wildfire, insurance and REALTOR® professionals are encouraging the nearly 3 million Colorado residents living in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) to prepare their homes and communities for wildfire in the weeks ahead.
The current outlook calls for average wildfire potential into mid-summer with an early onset to fire activity in the southern portion of the state, and the southwest corner in particular. In an average year, Colorado would have 4,472 wildfires burn more than 160,400 acres. However, the impact on people and communities across the state would be further magnified during a wildfire season with COVID-19 factors in play through air quality issues, evacuation challenges and access to wildfire resources, according to an early April update from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
Although COVID-19 related restrictions prevent residents from conducting group mitigation activities, wildfire officials are encouraging individual homeowners to take advantage of this extra time at home to engage in a wide range of low-cost mitigation steps proven to protect homes and land and help reduce damage to structures and communities.

Based on recommended fire-mitigation activities from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) advises homeowners complete the following activities at home while practicing social distancing.

Colorado Extends Remote Notary Use Through May 30th

The Secretary of State’s remote notarization emergency rules have been extended and will remain in effect until May 30. These rules enable Coloradans to have access to notary services without in-person contact.
“Remote notarization has ensured business and personal transactions can continue to take place in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “With social distancing guidelines still in place, we are extending remote notarization to help protect Coloradans’ health.”
At the end of March, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order that ordered the temporary suspension of the personal appearance requirement for notarial officers to perform notarizations due to the presence of coronavirus disease in Colorado and authorized the Secretary of State to adopt remote notarization emergency rules.
Secretary Griswold then issued emergency rules that outline the procedures and requirements for remote notarization in Colorado during this state of emergency. The Secretary of State’s Office received a lot of positive feedback from the many Coloradans and the business community on the program.
In April, the Governor issued additional Executive Orders extending the effectiveness of his original March order. Remote notarization emergency rules will remain in effect until May 30.

For the Notice of Temporary Adoption for the Colorado Notary Program Rules (8 CCR 1505-11), please click here. The notice includes the adopted rules, a statement of basis, and statement of justification. For an unofficial copy of the notary rules as adopted and effective 3/30/2020, please click here.
The Secretary of State’s Office has worked with stakeholders, including the Colorado Bar Association, on legislation on remote notary service over the last several years. The emergency remote notary process builds on this work.

National News – US Jobless Claims Decline for Third Straight Week
According to am April 30th release from the Labor Department, 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week (ending April 18), a decrease of 810,000 from the previous week’s revised level. In the last five weeks, more than 26 million new jobless claims were filed across the United States, confirming the concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. Comparing these claims with the total number of employees, nearly 16% of the workforce lost their job in the last five weeks. However, it is the third week in a row in which jobless claims have declined, showing that unemployment is slowing.

The National Association of REALTORS® closely monitors the weekly claims for unemployment insurance provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since this data is also released for each state, we track the jobless claims activity at the state level. This state-level data report is a very important indicator to watch at economic turning points because it provides detail on what’s happening week by week, rather than each month or quarter.

The good news is that 44 states reported a decrease in initial claims for the week ending April 18. New York, California, and Michigan were the states with the highest decline in unemployment claims compared to the previous week. The number of advance claims dropped by 189,985 in New York; 121,904 in California; 88,088 in Michigan. Parsing out by industry, fewer layoffs were reported in the manufacturing, retail trade, and accommodation and food services industries in Michigan and California, according to the local unemployment insurance program offices.

However, unadjusted advance claims continued to increase in Florida, Connecticut, and West Virginia. Specifically, the number of advance claims increased by 324,718 claims in Florida; 68,707 in Connecticut; and 31,307 in West Virginia.