Sushi restaurant off Square has historic board seeing yellow
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
October 18, 2011 12:50 AM | 3909 views | 14 14 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Denouncing the Thaicoon & Sushi Bar restaurant off Marietta Square that was recently painted bright yellow as “distractingly colorful,” the Historic Board of Review on Monday ordered the owner to bring back a more suitable color paint for approval at its next meeting.

The restaurant’s owner came before the board to obtain retroactive approval for the paint job, having already painted the building without permission, said Brian Binzer, the city’s development services director.

“We didn’t know” the color needed to be approved, owner Mana Laknanurak said of why he painted the building in August. “I don’t have any knowledge about this kind of thing.”

Laknanurak said he had the building painted because he was getting complaints.

“We’ve had customers ask ‘When are you going to repaint, because it looks so old,’” Laknanurak said. “When people pass by, they don’t come in because it looks very bad.”

But the board, in a vote of 5-1, declined to grant a certificate of approval to allow the new paint job after members complained about the color, ordering Laknanurak to return to the board’s meeting next month with one that was “more suitable.”

“The color police are out there in force, I guess,” board member Tom Browning said after the meeting.

Browning did not participate in the vote since he is a part owner of the building.

Voting to deny the certificate of approval for the paint job were board members Terry Lee, Doug Frey, James Eubanks, Becky Paden and Ray Worden. Opposed to the motion was board member Brett Bittner.

“I felt it was, to use a phrase, ‘too much of a good thing,’ and that while an awning can be a small, localized splash of color that is temporary in nature on the facade of a building, having the entire building painted was distractingly colorful,” Eubanks said.

Eubanks was referring to the awning put up by Lucky Draw Tattoo & Gallery on Atlanta Street over the summer, which has attracted the criticism of City Council members, who say it’s out of keeping with the Square’s ambiance.

The tattoo parlor’s awning was one of the reasons cited in the Council’s decision last week to restructure the Historic Board effective Jan. 1, by shrinking it from 11 members to nine, as well as stripping the Downtown Marietta Development Authority of the power to place four members on that board.

Browning, who chairs the DMDA, was pleased with neither decision on Monday.

Browning estimated it would cost his tenant at Thaicoon & Sushi Bar about $2,000 to repaint the building.

He also said a new clause in the Historic Board’s ordinance establishes a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for violating the Historic Board’s decisions.

“It looks like another burden on not only the business community, but also on the residential community, so violate any of that and you can go to jail,” Browning said. “We’ve had a tsunami of people concerned about the colors in downtown Marietta, but there’s not much interest in the fact that there are nine vacant storefronts. We need more people in Marietta. We don’t need to put a whole bunch of criteria on them which is going to cost them more money.”
Comments
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FROM TEXAS
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October 20, 2011
They should have painted it the bright yellow that Judy Manning is getting away with these rules seem to be enforced at will or on the good old boy system. Check out the Tattoo Parlor.
Larietta
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October 19, 2011
Is the blue tarp on the north side of the square within the color guidelines? Let's think of something that's been there as long as it has already and not knowing for how much longer should also be considered "permanent".
Fan of Thai Coon
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October 19, 2011
What a joke, worried about Thai Coon's paint color "off the Square" when there are really crummy looking buildings right on the Square? Really???? Some very close to the Strand - one of the Square's jewels.
Some info
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October 18, 2011
In Thai culture, bright yellow is a color of great honor....it is the color associated with the king of Thailand who is deeply respected by most Thais (and, just as fyi, the Thai king is US born and has been a tremendous US ally for decades, just FYI).

In Thailand, you will see many many yellow flags flown in the honor of the king. I am sure, given its cultural significance and given the proprietor's good relationship with the Marietta community in the past, that he meant only to decorate his restaurant in a very honorable color by his choice of yellow.

Say for example to put the shoe on the other foot, you opened a burger joint in Bangkok and wanted to decorate the outside of the building in red, white, and blue...stars and stripes....would you not be taken somewhat aback if the city of Bangkok then lambasted you for your poor taste?

Anyway, I think its time for the historical board to stop pretending the square is some delicate time capsule out of the 1890's...the roads in all directions around the square are 4 lanes wide and often congested with gas guzzling SUV's. Allowing a successful and popular Thai restaurant to decorate its exterior in yellow is not the end of the world.

Disgraceful
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October 18, 2011
Proof the DMDA is totally useless for maintaining anything that resembles standards. Its own board chair cannot even keep his own building in compliance.

What a disgrace.
evan gammage
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October 18, 2011
Somebody got a reaming if they paid $2,000.

for a paint job on that size building.
Makers Mark
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October 18, 2011
So, the Board is more concerned about the color of a successful sushi restaurant than the big gaping hole on the square left by Goldstein?
thepeddler
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October 18, 2011
2southernGirl,I did not know being souther meant being stupid and closed minded...
Informed Agnostic
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October 18, 2011
"Seeing yellow" --- does the headline writer not see the (un)intended racial allusion?
just the check, pls
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October 18, 2011
So, the DMDA chair and landlord cannot even communicate community standards to a paying tenant?

Did he not know they were going to paint HIS building? If I owned the building, I would control the painting myself.

Sounds like an absentee landlord to me. Just the check please...
Not Again!
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October 18, 2011
Well I guess it won't be too much longer before the "Snooty Police" start telling people that their cars are too "low end" to be allowed to park around the square or their attire doesn't meet the standard to be seen around the sqaure. How much is enough!
SouthernGal
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October 18, 2011
Mr. Browning...I take it you live in an area without covenents.
Perryls
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October 18, 2011
The MDMA is arguing with one of the few successful businesses on the square about new, fresh, clean paint? This is while Goldstein leaves dilapidated buildings and gaping holes from torn down buildings? The square is full of dirty restaurants and junk stores. MDMA is a joke. Smyrna, Woodstock,Acworth and Roswell knew how to "revive" a downtown area, Marietta can't do anything but revive an art deco movie theatre that it doesn't even own the rights to, what a shame.
Gimme a Break
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October 18, 2011
The key word is "off" the Square. How far do their tentacles reach? Thaicoon is as far off the Square as Krystal. Does the Krystal meet the HBR's standards?

Thaicoon is a thai/sushi restaurant. Bright colors are for the culture. But kudos to the HBR for maintaining the "historic" nature of the Square. I am sure no one of color or foreign ethnicity was allowed to own property on the square during the historic era they are trying to preserve.

It seems precedent was set in approving the awning for the tatoo parlor. So why is Thaicoon being forced to change? How many complaints have there been concerning the color of the building? Was yellow paint not available during the HBR historic era definition?

Thaicoon is and has been one of the most successful and steady businesses in the area. Here's a shout out to them. Come to Smyrna and get away from the mess called Marietta.
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