■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter
AMF Hemet Lanes won the right to keep its new exterior paint job at the Feb. 21 City of Hemet Planning Commission meeting. The newly renovated bowling alley at 2850 W. Florida Ave., was contacted by the city of Hemet about its exterior color palette choices, stating that the colors selected were not consistent with the city’s adopted color palette and that they would need to conform with code. AMF Hemet Lanes filed an appeal on Dec 13 and the appeal was heard at last Tuesday’s meeting.
Community Development Director Deanna Elliano stated that “the recently painted exterior color is inconsistent with the city’s adopted color palette and Hemet Municipal Code 90-896. This is the very first ever appeal of the color palette determination since it was adopted in 2001.”
The Planning Commission unanimously decided to approve the appeal and directed staff to look at the color palette based on the discussion and craft a change that can be sent to city council for adoption.
When the color palette, a combination of earth tones and muted colors, was adopted by the City Council, it was done with the intention to prohibit bright or garish colors on commercial buildings within the city. The process is a no-fee permit application, which aims to make this a business-friendly endeavor. The trim and accent colors can include darker hues and more intense colors but is limited to only 10 percent of the building façade. Staff has used flexibility in the past regarding the color palette due to the trend of the darker hues for corporate palettes or brighter accent colors but ensured that it was done tastefully.
Robin Lowe, who was Hemet’s mayor at the time the color palette was adopted, stated that “corporate branding is worth a lot of money to the person who is carrying that label and I don’t think we should go overboard with it. I think as the Commissioner pointed out, there’s room for compromise.” Lowe went on to state that she didn’t think the city should burden a business.
The exterior colors chosen by AMF Hemet Lanes are on the city’s adopted color palette. However, they are listed as trim and accent colors. The building, which is located about 400 feet back from Florida Avenue, is not easily visible from the street. Elliano used examples such as the newly renovated Wienerschnitzel, Chili’s Grill and Bar and Red Robin as businesses that have used trim and accent colors more than the allotted 10 percent. Elliano explained that the color palettes used for these businesses are in alignment with their corporate brand.
It was stated during the meeting that there was a change in management and that AMF thought that the color palette had been previously approved. The district manager of Bowlmor AMF, Scott Chauncey, was present to state his case for the appeal. Bowlmor AMF is the owner of AMF Hemet Lanes and has been operating the location for the last 18 years.
Chauncey explained that AMF Hemet Lanes recently spent more than $16,000 on the exterior paint, and forcing the business to repaint would constitute a financial burden. In the last 24 months, they have invested more than $100,000 on improvements to the bowling center. AMF maintained that the color palette conforms with the corporate brand. The east, west and north-facing sides of the building remain the prior color scheme that matches the Wheelhouse skating rink.
The Commission commented about the desire to stay business-friendly and work with corporations on maintaining their brand. Planning Commissioner James Ollerton said that he visited the shopping centers at Haun Road and Newport Road to observe what the city of Menifee has done. He said that the color palette was all over the place, but that it looks good.