Outside the lines – Shopping center’s new color scheme violates city rules
Hattar Saadeh, owner of the Springhill Village Shopping Center on East Main Street in Grass Valley, strayed from the allowable colors when he decided to paint his building last month without approval from the city first.
Now, the Novato resident may be faced with repainting the commercial building – home of Sierra Cinemas and several smaller businesses – if city officials do not agree that his festive color choice blends in with the surrounding area.
The building is now predominantly mustard-yellow with dark-green accents and maroon columns, handrails and roof.
“It’s like a Mexican McDonald’s. At least it’s good for conversation,” said Rory Stephenson, an employee at West Coast Grinders, a restaurant in the shopping center.
The color scheme allowed by the design specifications was very different and more “subdued,” said Joe Heckel, director of the city’s Community Development Department. The original design specifications were laid out by developers when the building was constructed a decade ago, and any change to them must receive approval, Heckel explained.
The color specifications allowed for the building to have “a light gray body, a darker gray trim, brown columns, burgundy accents and a blue steel roof,” wrote associate planner Daniel Chance in a June 29 letter from the city sent to Saadeh. The letter was written after city officials saw the building being painted and after receiving phone calls and letters of concerned residents.
Barbara Getz, co-owner of Sierra Cinemas, rents the space for the theater in the shopping center from Saadeh. She said she had no opinion on the color choice and that “(Saadeh) is a good guy, and he needed to paint his building.”
Saadeh could not be reached for comment Thursday.
If Saadeh wants to keep the color of the building as it is, he will have to get approval from the Development Review Committee on Aug. 10 to change the color specifications in the design guidelines. Most likely, the decision will be deferred to the Planning Commission and residents’ concerns will be considered in the final decision, said Heckel.
“We will try to work with (Saadeh) as much as we can,” Heckel said. He said Saadeh is not the first to be faced with getting approval for a design guideline change after a project has already been completed.
“Some people innocently do it; sometimes they just misplace their design guidelines. Some people think that what they are doing is fine,” Heckel said.
“Some people may like it, but it does have a different perspective,” he said. He said the city will have to decide whether that different perspective is something residents want.
He said the final call ultimately is a community decision.
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