It’s a parkoff! Watt, town at odds over sign on truck

In protest, Harry Watt parked his International truck with the sign for Blue Spruce Inn in front of the Meeker Town Hall on April 23. Watt has been feuding with the town about whether the sign on the truck violates a municipal ordinance.

In protest, Harry Watt parked his International truck with the sign for Blue Spruce Inn in front of the Meeker Town Hall on April 23. Watt has been feuding with the town about whether the sign on the truck violates a municipal ordinance.
MEEKER I Harry Watt is nothing if not stubborn.
Last week, Watt staged his own personal protest of government control by parking his old International truck smack dab in front of Town Hall.
Watt has received several notices from the town that the sign for Blue Spruce Inn, which is painted on the side of the truck, is in violation of municipal code. Watt, along with Melinda Parker, owns the hotel.
“I just don’t feel like this amounts to anything,” Watt said of the fuss about the painted sign on the side of the truck.
Town Administrator Sharon Day, when asked about the ongoing issue over the truck sign, said, “That’s in the attorney’s hands now.”
Watt isn’t backing down. He’s willing to draw a line in the sand over the issue.
“As it stands right now, I have until Friday before they throw me in jail,” he said. “Essentially, they could throw me in jail for a year and fine me $1,000 a day. If they want to go that far, they can throw me in jail. I’ll go to jail, if I have to.”
Watt said he has received several notification letters from the town, including two personally delivered by Police Chief Bob Hervey. The letters refer to the “continuing off-premise sign violation.”
Initially, Watt had the truck parked last fall in the lot of his grocery store, Watt’s Ranch Market.
“I specially put a box on that truck, specifically, for that sign, but (the truck) serves a dual purpose. We also use it to haul our boxes to the recycling center or to haul trash or gravel,” Watt said.
Watt said he first received a phone message from Town Administrator Sharon Day saying “there was a problem and I needed to come in and talk to her.”
Watt said he did some investigating on his own, including talking to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Watt’s Ranch Market and the Blue Spruce Inn are located on Highway 13.
“They didn’t have a problem with it, as long as it’s a drivable or moveable truck, but the town does,” Watt said. “She (Day) called me back and wanted me to come again. I said, ‘I’m not taking (the sign) off there. I think I’m within my rights and to come in and discuss will be a waste of my time and your time.’”
Watt said at issue is what is the definition of a parked vehicle.
“Is it a parked vehicle if is it parked for five minutes or five days? Mine is not permanently parked there,” Watt said. “My point is no harm, no foul. It’s a nice-looking sign. It’s not hurting anybody. I have not talked to one person who said, ‘Harry, you shouldn’t be able to do that.’ I cannot see their (the town’s) reasoning. I’m struggling to create business, and they are penalizing me.”
Watt is determined to stand his ground.
“I don’t want them to push me around,” he said. “I still haven’t changed my mind. If they feel they have a case, then do what you have to do.”