Boulder County receives complaints about peace sign on woman’s home

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. -- The peace sign holds a lot of meaning for Mary Angeline. In fact, she put a 10-foot-tall symbol made out of PVC pipe and wood on the balcony of her home in northern Boulder County.

“It’s universal,” Angeline said of the sign. She built it following the 2016 election as a statement after the political discourse she says she noticed in the country.

“People need to come together and not to be angry at each other over every little thing,” Angeline said.

But turns out, not everybody is willing to give the peace sign a chance. Angeline got a call and a letter from Boulder County about two weeks ago, saying it was in violation of a residential sign ordinance.

“That was disappointing to us -- that people would complain about a peace sign,” Angeline said.

The ordinance says signs have to be smaller than two square feet. However, after some research, Angeline found an exception: she made it as a piece of art. Under Boulder County ordinance 13-300, “works of art that in no way advertise a product or business” are excluded from the definition of a sign.

“The county is being very reasonable and understanding, and it looks like we’re able to keep it,” Angeline said.

But the final sticking point remains whether or not the peace sign can be illuminated. Boulder County's outdoor lighting ordinance says holiday lights are an exception to the rule, but if the lights are visible from outside the property line, the law is fairly strict.

Angeline has offered to only keep the lights on for a short period after sundown, but has not heard back from the county as of Saturday night.

“I light it maybe from sundown for a few hours, which is usually what I do anyway,” Angeline said. "We turn it off before we go to bed.”

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