Del Taco’s planned color changes are still up in the after the San Juan Capistrano Planning Commission referred the proposal to a special subcommittee Tuesday night.
But commissioners are unanimous in one respect: The metal cut-outs of ingredients on the walls and the gooseneck lighting fixtures above them have to go.
“I think it’s a little kitsch and it’s definitely no Andy Warhol, that’s for sure,” said Commissioner Evan Chaffee.
With the removal of Arby’s and the Chevron station at Del Obispo Street and Ortega Highway to make way for a wider Ortega bridge, Del Taco has now become the entry point into downtown San Juan Capistrano, commissioners said, and that warrants more attention to detail.
“This is now the gateway,” said Commission Chairman Sheldon Cohen. “I would ask that Del Taco be flexible and work with us. This is much improved over what we last saw, but I think it could be better.”
Del Taco changed all of its locations to the new color scheme this year as part of a “rebranding” effort. But company officials forgot to get city permission first. They’ve since proposed toned-down colors that get away from the “luau green” and “Chinese red.”
While Commissioner Roy Nunn said the colors wouldn’t be his first choice, they were acceptable. Commissioner Tim Neely was less conciliatory.
“The colors have gone from hideous to unpalatable,” he said.
Representing Del Taco, Mark Raber said of the proposed color scheme: “We believe it’s more in line with that area while at the same time it gives it some continuity with the direction of the brand we’re going to.”
Likewise, the metal panels with images of tomatoes and chickens are designed to communicate freshness, Raber said.
But city planner Laura Stokes said the panels don’t qualify either as signage or art murals, so they’re not allowed.
The one approval commissioners did give Del Taco was repositioning one of their signs from the east side of the building to the north side, now that drivers along Del Obispo can see that side clearly.
An ad hoc committee comprised of Commissioners Ian Gardiner and Chaffee will work with Del Taco on the colors and landscaping.