ARTery flouted law with mural

We like murals — and an art supply shop is an especially appropriate location — but the owners of the ARTery blew it when they thumbed their creative noses at the city of Atascadero.

The business owners told Tribune reporter Tonya Strickland that they knew a permit was required, but they thought they could get one after the fact.

Huh? Doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose of a permit?

Had the applicants presented their ideas to the city’s Design Review Committee before the mural was painted, there would have been an opportunity for public comment, as well as some give-and-take between the applicants and the committee. Perhaps creative differences could have been smoothed over, or a compromise reached. But confronted with a fait accompli, the design committee flat out denied the application on the grounds that the mural didn’t match the character of the downtown.

From our perspective, we see nothing wrong with the mural; it’s interesting, colorful and it could inspire other artistic endeavors in the city. Sure, not everyone likes it, but so what? Art that doesn’t inspire some debate is like elevator music: offensively bland.

That said, the ARTery’s owners should not have flouted the law.

Under the circumstances, the city’s approach — it told the applicants to paint over the mural or pay a $460 fee to appeal the denial to the Planning Commission — was not out of line.

Editorials are the opinion of The Tribune.