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.”