The Press Newspaper
A small, vacant commercial building on Woodville Road in Northwood recently got a fresh coat of paint, possibly in anticipation of a new business going in. Though that would normally have city officials beaming, that’s not quite the case in this instance.
The city welcomes new business. But the color of the building on Woodville Road is a bit jarring.
City Councilman Ed Schimmel at a Dec. 6 council meeting had referred to the building’s color as “neon green.” He asked the planning, zoning and economic development coordinator, Kimberly Vaculik, to contact the owner to inform him that the color is unacceptable in the city’s central business district.
The building, which at one time was a car lot, then a tax service, should be painted a more neutral color, Vaculik said to The Press on Wednesday.
Per Schimmel’s request, she mailed a letter to the owner, Larry Oberheu, of Lambertville, Michigan, last month to tell him to change the color of the building, but has not yet received a response.
“We have an architectural review committee, which reviews any kind of new construction - windows, painting, siding, signage - in the central business district. The committee has to review the changes. Right now, he’s in violation because we never approved it,” said Vaculik.
“Obviously, with the building being in the downtown district, we want it to be a neutral color, not bright green or hot pink or purple. It should conform with the surrounding businesses. I sent a notice to the property owner asking him to change the color. I’ve not yet heard back from him,” she said.
Oberheu, according to Vaculik, has owned the property since at least 1990. She does not know what his plans are for the building.
“I’m not sure what you would put in a building that is bright green,” she said with a laugh. “The only thing I can come up with is a florist. He hasn’t contacted me to say who is going in there and that the business may have wanted the building this color. Maybe they just want it this bright so people will notice it. But I’ve not heard anything from him about this building.”
Oberheu at one time wanted the property to store vehicles as overflow for a dealership, but that specific use was not permitted there, she said.
Her office recently had an issue with Oberheu regarding a privacy fence on the property, but he addressed it in a satisfactory manner, said Vaculik.
She will mail a follow-up letter to Oberheu. If there is still no response, the city will have to get a little more assertive.
“If he doesn’t change the color or get back to us, he’ll have to go to mayor’s court and he’ll be fined,” she said.
The Press was unable to reach Oberheu to comment for this article.
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