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San Fernando Votes to Extend Color Scheme Citywide

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It wasn’t quite a debate over what is art, but in San Fernando the City Council this week decided what it likes--and doesn’t like--in colors for the exteriors of buildings.

The City Council voted 4 to 1 to extend its regulation on building colors to the entire city. The regulation currently applies to redevelopment areas only, which include about half the city’s commercial buildings. If approved in a second vote Sept. 16, the regulation will also include about 15 to 20 homes in commercially zoned areas.

The revisions would take effect 30 days after approval. They would not force owners to repaint, but any time a building is given a new coat, the paint must be one of the 14 city-approved colors.

Howard Miura, the city’s director of community development, said only about a dozen buildings citywide currently would not meet the city color scheme, which includes shades of white, beige, pink and pastel blues and greens. Of those buildings, he said, only two or three would be considered “wild.”

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“We’re trying to form some type of identity for the city,” Miura said. “Color is one way to establish that identity.”

The building that brought the matter to the city’s attention was Ed’s Market on the corner of Maclay Avenue and 7th Street. The bottom half of the building is bright orange, while the top half is bright yellow. A blue line runs horizontally along the front wall.

Mayor Doude Wysbeek said he received about 40 calls of complaint from residents.

“It wasn’t just the colors, but also the quality of the paint used,” Wysbeek said. “We’re looking to find more compatible color schemes for buildings in the city.”

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Jackie Ma, who owns Ed’s Market, said those colors were chosen because some of her Latino employees told her that Latinos--who make up the majority of her customers--like bright colors.

But Ma said she plans to repaint her building soon, even though the zoning code change would not force her to do so.

“We thought we would try these colors, but they are a little too bright,” Ma said in an interview. “We will repaint the building, but we don’t know what colors.”

Miura said that the proposed amendment also contains a provision that would allow exemptions to the color scheme for national franchises, such as Magic Muffler, which has purple buildings, and Jack In The Box fast-food restaurants, which display bright red colors.

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