'I just don't think that's OK': Downtown Naperville diner's paint job draws criticism
JoJo's Shake Bar in downtown Naperville didn't commit a "no-no" with its new paint scheme, but local officials still aren't happy with it.
Members of the city's planning and zoning commission gave a chilly reception to the freshly painted exterior at JoJo's, a self-described "next generation diner" with milkshakes, milk and cookie flights and diner classics that's scheduled to open this month at 5 Jackson Ave.
But because JoJo's adhered to city codes regarding its main color choice and the amount of accent color it used, there's not much the commission or the city can do except possibly ask JoJo's to change the facade and create stricter guidelines for the future.
The diner's white facade and turquoise-and-white striped awning are fine with the commission members. It's the signage at the top of the building raising eyebrows.
Behind white raised letters reading "JoJo's Shake Bar" is a turquoise background stretching across the two-story building that looks like dripping ice cream extending down past the top of the second-floor windows.
Commission members said a uniform block of turquoise across the top would have been acceptable. They believe the dripping effect, however, isn't appropriate for downtown Naperville.
Representatives from JoJo's did not respond to emails or phone messages seeking comment.
"So you could just take swatches of paint and put it all over a building, and as long as you add the math up and it's 25 percent, that's an accent color? Wow," said Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Bruce Hanson.
"I just don't think that's OK."
The issue came up at the end of Wednesday's meeting when Commissioner Anthony Losurdo said he saw the facade while driving by, labeling it a "sore thumb." Stressing he wouldn't have approved the look had it been subject to a vote, Losurdo said he has received complaints about the paint scheme from residents.
Other commissioners said they also wouldn't have approved the look of the facade had it come to a vote.
"I was shocked," Commissioner Oriana Van Someren said. "A wonderful business, but it just doesn't seem to fit whatsoever."
In July, city planner Gabrielle Mattingly asked the commission for feedback regarding signage guidelines. At that meeting, the commission unanimously allowed staff to broaden its interpretation of the code in terms of painted facades and accent materials applied to facades that are representative of commercial businesses.
The JoJo's facade didn't go before the planning and zoning commission or the city council because it fell within the established guidelines and didn't require a variance. In the future, though, commission members said they may seek additional oversight on signage like JoJo's.
"We could have an array of buildings -- pink, green, red, yellow -- whatever color anybody wants that happens to correspond with their branding or something that they like," Hanson said. "Then we lose the character of downtown Naperville."