Planners mute on eatery's exterior color choice
Published - 08/12/15 - 09:05 AM | 3813 views | 1 1 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A surfeit of primary yellow marks the exterior of George Hauer's Galaxy Taco. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
A surfeit of primary yellow marks the exterior of George Hauer's Galaxy Taco. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
In August, La Jolla Community Planning Association debated Galaxy Taco’s exterior paint choice at length without taking any action, which included not ruling on La Jolla restaurateur George Hauer’s proposal to “soften” the building’s coloration.

The advisory group, which makes land-use recommendations to the city, stalemated in its discussion of an agenda action item. That item proposed considering the question of whether yellow was an appropriate exterior color for new Shores eatery Galaxy Taco, at 2259 Avenida de la Playa.

“I am very concerned with the screaming white-yellow color of the building and the exposed equipment on the roof, which is in stark contrast with the unique charm and quaintness of our wonderful street,” said longtime Shores resident and women’s boutique owner Myrna Naegle.

Naegle contended Galaxy’s use of primary yellow as an outside color violates the La Jolla Shores Planned District Ordinance, the community’s blueprint for development.

“The PDO was enacted in 1974 to stop new structures that are not compatible with the area and would destroy the architectural unity of La Jolla Shores,” Naegle said.

Hauer responded by thanking Naegle for her comments, noting, “There’s always room for a broad range of opinions and questions like this.”

Nonetheless, Hauer noted that Galaxy’s enclosed rooftop equipment is there to muffle noise and mitigate smells coming from the restaurant, at the community’s request.

Pointing out it’s been a two-year process to get Galaxy Taco going, Hauer said the specifications for his establishment, including its colors, were vetted during a months-long process that involved applying for — and obtaining — a liquor license.

“We went over every aspect of the building with the neighborhood, including our hours and what the place was going to look like,” said Hauer, adding, “We took a dilapidated building with broken windows and chipped paint and wood falling off the siding and turned it into something that has charm to it. It’s an enormous improvement over what existed there before.”

Hauer suggested that, if people walk down the Avenida de la Playa commercial strip, they’ll notice a great deal of variation in building colors, styles and materials.

Hauer concluded by saying he felt it was unfair for the community to question Galaxy Taco’s color choices at this stage, noting, “We should have had that conversation before we painted the thing.”

Association secretary Helen Blanchard said discussion of the new restaurant’s coloration “did not go through the public process. It was information only.”

The Shores planned district ordinance was consulted, and its provision concerning colors reads that “natural earth colors should predominate, though primary colors, like yellow, may be used as an accent.”

“Yellow is in my definition of a primary color,” Blanchard said, adding, “I consider this to be a code-compliance issue.”

Trustee Ray Weiss noted that “this is a Mexican restaurant, and Mexico has lots of bright colors. On the other hand, my own sense is that some of the (ordinance) code is subjective.”

Trustee Janie Emerson said she agreed with the perception that challenging the building’s color choice after the fact could be construed as unfair. She noted the color was vetted at the La Jolla Shores Association while pointing out that advisory group is “not a land-use board.”

Trustee Mike Costello agreed, arguing the issue should have been routed through the association's Planned District Ordinance or Development Review subcommittees. He noted the issue might have gotten a more thorough — and proper —review there.

Hauer offered to “tone down” the building’s exterior color by changing some of the yellow to green, thus “matching the green existing on trees and elsewhere around the building.” Hauer’s suggestion was not acted upon at the meeting.

In other action:

• The association voted 13-0-2 to draft a letter supporting residents, many of whom attended the Aug. 6 meeting, challenging proposed updates to the Municipal Code provisions in the Federal Spectrum Act. Some are interpreting those proposed changes as loosening regulations concerning wireless cell tower installations across the city, which some contend ignore the 30-foot coastal height limit.

• The association voted 11-1-1 in favor of a proposed redo of Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Prospect Avenue. The redevelopment proposes demolishing an existing residence and constructing a museum addition/remodel, to include underground parking at 700 Prospect Ave.
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August 16, 2015
By the time I saw this article, Galaxy Taco had already repainted the building green, as proposed by George. I must say though that as a local resident who lives very close to Galaxy Taco, I found the bright colors, including the yellow building a refreshing splash of color in our neighborhood.

Further, as George claims, he has worked with the local residents to be a good neighbor. I wish him only success in this new venture.
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