Mustard passes for Spring Hill |

Mustard passes for Spring Hill

Grass Valley planning commissioners concurred Tuesday night that color preferences are subjective and, like it or not, some people enjoy the Spring Hill Shopping Center’s new look.

Although several commissioners scolded property owner Saadeh Hattar for breaking city rules, they unanimously decided to defer to his personal pigment preferences.

And Hattar likes the colors. The same hues color his Novato restaurant where he spends most of his days.

“Everybody (there) loves them,” Hattar said.

But when the same shades appeared in Grass Valley this June, pens flew and phones rang as dozens of residents felt pressed to commend or critique the colors.

According to those who wrote the city, the colors either bring a “breath of fresh air,” or insert a “sore thumb” into the city. They either add a “dynamic liveliness” or “nearly nauseate a person.”

Is the color combo “ugly, ugly” (underlined) and a “grotesque disfiguring of the environment?”

Or do they add “unprecedented attraction and interest?”

Either way, it would just be too much to ask Hattar to redo the $80,000 paint job, the commissioners decided.

“The property owner has the opportunity to do just about anything … (the colors are) not obtrusive,” Planning Commissioner Dale White said.

Although Hattar did not follow the procedure and repaint the building light and dark gray in accordance with his 1989 permit, the infraction was “minor,” Planning Commissioner Paul Aguilar said.

Though Hattar’s disregard of city policy was minor, Commissioner Lisa Swarthout said, she would like to be able to penalize him.

But no such option currently exists. So, she, as well as the rest of the community, will have to live with the much-maligned mustard.

Despite the not-so-subtle suggestion to mute the bold hue to cream, Hattar said he has no plans of cutting the mustard. He does intend to paint parts of the fountain and sign to match the colors, however.

Although this color war is over, color combatants could see another erupt soon. Betty Townsend, who praised the shopping center’s colors, said she strongly dislikes the purple and green of the new Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

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