County officials have notified a local bakery owner that a mural on the side of his shop is in violation of county code, and will need to be removed or substantially altered.
The mural is on the side of Patticakes Dessert Company at the corner of Allen Avenue and New York. It depicts various pastries, desserts and a cup of coffee, which officials have told the owner constitutes an advertisement for the store.
That means that it arguably violates rules on what percent of the wall of a store can be used to advertise, said Mike McLellan, who owns the store along with his wife Phyllis.
He said he is very unhappy that the county has taken the action during a time when the economy is suffering.
"The county planner I spoke to was very condescending and not very nice," McLellan said. "It's a beautiful mural painted by a local artist, not a blight."
County planning officials have not yet returned a call requesting comment on the case.
McLellan said the letter he received from the county detailed two codes he violated that deal with limits on commercial signage (22.52.800 and 22.52.880).
The mural has been up on the side of the building for about six months, McLellan said. He said that wall of his store, which faces Allen Avenue, used to get hit with graffiti and was generally not too appealing before he hired local artist Bill Madrid to paint it.
County planners told him two local neighborhood residents had called to complain about it.
The letter the county sent said that by leaving it he could subject himself to a fine of more than $2000. A county hearing on the issue would cost him $9000, McLellan said.
He added that he hopes that he won't have to change it. He is gathering petition signatures and plans to appeal to County Supervisor Michael Antonovich for help.
We hope to update this story with more information from the county so please check back for updates.