‘Sprite Twist’ House Fails To Win Wellington ARB Approval

The Wellington Municipal Complex.

A green color known as Sprite Twist failed to win a place on Wellington’s palette of approved hues for houses, much to one local homeowner’s chagrin.

The village’s Architectural Review Board, meeting Wednesday, June 28, declined to endorse the color that the resident chose to paint a house on Horseshoe Trace. A neighbor had filed a complaint.

Such decisions can lead to dismay and repainting costs for individual residents, but committee members said as uncomfortable as it might be, their job is to rule on what colors should be available to everyone, not just one house.

“I understand you guys are upset, you have an attitude, you’re frustrated,” Committee Chair Stacy Somers said.

“Of course, we are,” said Victoria Amador, agent for applicant Rosa Tejeda.

“I will tell you I’m struggling, because my answer would be no,” Somers said. “I would not want to see that on the board for there to be other houses to be painted this particular color.”

Somers said she drove around the area to view the home in question in comparison to surrounding properties. “I just did not see any as bright as this particular house is,” she said. “I’m trying to be human, but I’m also trying to fulfill the job I was put here to do.”

Amador was not happy with the situation.

“I understand that, and I respect that,” she said. “It has been very frustrating, because for six months, it wasn’t a problem until a neighbor decided it’s too bright.”

A final decision on the color had been postponed from the previous month’s meeting to let the board members view the home in question.

Some committee members wondered if the decision could wait until a planned, periodic village update of approved colors is completed, but in the end, a majority voted against that particular color.

In May, village staff described the color as “a soft bright crisp clover green with a Kelly green undertone.” The staff found it “similar” to other approved colors “but not exact.”

In other action, the committee voted to allow the Channing Villas community to keep ficus hedges that are no longer approved under revised village fence and hedge standards adopted in 2021.

The homeowners’ association still will be required to replace Australian pines along Wellington Trace, but the cost burden will be eased somewhat by allowing the ficus hedge along Forest Hill to remain until it becomes deteriorated. At that point, the plan is to replace it with Simpson’s stopper, one of five approved hedge plants.

“We’re asking for the ficus to be grandfathered in,” said Lizabeth Wheatley, vice president of the HOA.

She noted that the Australian pines removal is shaping up to be quite costly on its own for the residents. “Yes, you’re giving us three years to do it, but it’s a huge expense,” Wheatley said.

Village staff members said the community’s ficus hedge has been well-maintained.

A staff analysis noted, “Ficus was initially non-invasive and was a popular hedge choice throughout the community. Recently, ficus have been labeled invasive due to its root system, are prone to disease and infestation, and any new hedge is prohibited to be planted.”

The 2021 overhaul of fence and hedge standards was designed to create a more uniform appearance along major Wellington thoroughfares. Regulations require communities to come into compliance by the end of 2026.

Simpson’s stopper is similar in appearance to ficus, and is likely to become its common replacement, officials said.

Going forward, it is possible other communities are going to ask for exemptions for hedges that are well-maintained but composed of plants not on the current approved list, staff members noted.