By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) – After hearing from unhappy residents and following a spate of media attention, the HOA board overseeing Denver’s Lowry neighborhood reversed a long-standing policy and voted Wednesday night to allow residents to display two yard signs. Board regulations previously prohibited temporary yard signs, angering residents who had recently put up social justice yard signs.

(credit: CBS)

Melissa Steele has a sign in her front yard advocating for women’s rights, science, love and kindness. She received a letter from the Lowry Community Master Association dated Aug. 25 warning her that her sign was unauthorized, violated the HOA’s rules and regulations and needed to be removed.

“You are asked to correct this violation within 10 days from the date of this letter. Please adhere to the Association’s standards on sign display and remove those which do not comply with the Association’s legal documents,” read the letter.

Steele, who has lived in her Lowry townhome for 14 years, said she was puzzled by the order.

“We felt strongly that we wanted to make it public that we support those issues and support our neighbors who may be struggling with some of those issues. I feel like having signs supporting these social justice issues is nothing but positive so why should it be an issue right now? I think there are a lot of things they could be cracking down on, and I’m surprised this is what they chose, and frankly, I felt it was a bit racist to be honest.”

(credit: CBS)

The association, which governs roughly 3,000 homes and businesses, has sent 150 such letters in the last three months, according to a spokesperson. The letters have gone not just to those with social justice signs, but apparently to people with signs congratulating high school graduates, supporting first responders and other seemingly benign issues.

But the new guidelines will make those letters null and void. The Lowry Board plans to make a public announcement to residents as early as Thursday.

The Lowry Board says its new sign rules will mirror those already in place in Denver:

Political and other noncommercial signs may be displayed on private property in accordance with the following zoning regulations. Remember, no signs may be placed in the public right-of-way! This includes median strips, highway entrance and exit ramps, traffic signs and posts, and utility poles.

On residential property:
Political and noncommercial signs are limited to the following types:

  •  Wall signs

  • Window signs

  • Ground signs not more than 6 feet above grade, unless mounted to a single pole no taller than 25 feet

  • Signs shall be maintained in a clean, orderly, and sightly condition

  • Signs shall not be animated, and shall not flash, blink, or fluctuate

  • Signs shall not be illuminated

  • No sign may be larger than 15 square feet in size

The Lowry Board said it had been grappling with the sign issue for awhile.

The Lowry Community Master Association shared the following statement concerning its yard sign policy on Thursday afternoon:

Given the exigent circumstances and the board’s desire to help our community express support for issues they endorse, the LCMA has amended the community signage policy to allow two yard signs. This policy is effective today, September 3, 2020. The association will continue to seek input from the community if future modifications to Lowry’s signage policy are needed.

Brian Maass