Recent design changes to an eyeglass store scheduled to open this week in Martinez are no optical illusion.
"Two or three weeks ago, they decided to add the orange stripes on the reveal," said Columbia County Planning Manager Nayna Mistry.
Those orange lines painted within grooves on the Stanton Optical building have since disappeared.
The brightly colored trim was not part of the approved design plan, Mistry said. Instead, the county's planning staff allowed a square-shaped creme building, with an orange sign, on the busy intersection at Washington and Old Evans roads.
The problem arose from miscommunication on the part of Stanton Optical, said Frank Litrento, the optical store's director of construction.
Litrento said Stanton Optical co-founder and president Daniel Stanton believed he received formal approval from the county when he hadn't.
"When they came out to do our inspections, they said, 'That's not part of the approved plans, so you need to paint it back out,' which we did," Litrento said.
Stanton Optical is scheduled to open Monday. The full-service store will offer general examinations and clinical care.
Stanton originally sought an orange stucco building for the corner to create a brand for his optical chain and to set the bar for new businesses locating in the area.
At the county planning commission meeting held more than a year ago, Stanton said the modern, minimalist style of the proposed design would be the first of its kind for Stanton Optical stores nationwide. Planning commissioners disapproved the plan and asked Stanton Optical representatives to work with the county's planning staff for a compromise.
Stanton did not immediately reply to an e-mail sent last week.
"What our new prototype calls for is a white building with orange stripes," Litrento said.
"That's what our design will be from this point forward, and that's what we're going for in every city that we go into," he said.
Four construction projects under way -- including two in California -- follow the designated prototype, Litrento said.
Though the company wanted a white building in the Martinez location, county staff insisted on a beige color, Litrento said.
Mistry said she approved color samples sent by Stanton Optical. Removing the orange stripes enhances the minimalist look of the building, she added.
"It really didn't look that bad, but with it taken off, it just looks a whole lot better," Mistry said.
Litrento, on the other hand, is of a different opinion.
"It looks pretty bland if you ask me now," he said.
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