Issues related to Naperville’s downtown design standards recently bubbled back up to the surface as city officials questioned a property owner’s actions on a color scheme outside a previously prescribed palette.
But after discussion, the Planning and Zoning Commission decided cosmetics company Benefit will be able to maintain its pink exterior color scheme. Commissioners on Wednesday hashed over the recent paint overhaul on a portion of the multi-tenant commercial building at 214 S. Main Street. The color change was designed to mimic Benefit’s corporate branding.
Downtown Naperville Design Standards
The city council in 2011 assembled the current set of downtown design standards that are on the city’s books. The document calls for a multi-tone set of neutral colors when buildings are repainted. Pink was not among the list of color schemes permissible within the standards.
For this reason, Sara Kopinski of the city’s transportation, engineering and development department said the office had recommended a denial of the pink color scheme on the Main Street building. Owners of the property subsequently filed an appeal, which went before commissioners
Painted Without City Consultation
In a letter to the city, the property owners, Chris and Susan Finck, acknowledged they were unaware there were provisions in place against specific color hues in the heart of Naperville’s business community. In the document, the Fincks said they “apologize for not seeking this appeal prior to painting.”
“We have looked at all the wonderful color siding we have downtown,” the Fincks wrote. “We have green, blue, purple, burgundy, yellow, orange, turquoise, multi color and stainless steel. We don’t think the pink/white colors are any different that these other building colors and it fits the Benefit Make Up Boutique nicely.”
JoJo’s Previously Discussed
This is not the first time a color variance for a downtown business has been scrutinized. Previously, the exterior of JoJo’s Shake Bar, 5 Jackson Ave., was reviewed because it included dripping blue accents.
Ultimately, city officials deemed JoJo’s design did not violate any existing standards.
Economic Challenges A Factor
Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission, which has final say in appeals to downtown design standards, unanimously approved the Fincks’ appeal at Wednesday’s meeting. During deliberations, the panelists said they were sensitive to the current economic climate and granted permission to keep the pink color scheme.
“These stores are fighting to survive,” commissioner Whitney Robbins said. “They’re getting creative.”
Other commissioners said the amount of pink-colored painted exterior was minor enough that they were comfortable granting a variance from the downtown design standards.
“I literally looked at every block in Naperville,” commissioner Oriana Van Someren said. “To be honest, I didn’t even notice that (the Main Street building) was pink. It’s a very small amount.”
For Naperville News 17, Dave Fidlin reports.
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