Shades of Paint…Maybe it’s because Squid can change colors at will: translucent one moment, sandy brown or vibrant red the next. Controlling special pigment cells in their skin for purposes of camouflage, cephalopods don’t get too attached to any one color. That makes it a little bewildering for Squid to follow the dispute around Mid Valley Shopping Center in Carmel Valley, where local residents do not share Squid’s whimsical approach to aesthetics.
That became plenty clear when the Carmel Valley Association released the results of a survey about the changes that the new owner is proposing for the shopping center. The Stanley Group is trying to rebrand it as The Marketplace @ Carmel Valley, while also making some alterations to the design that has remained the same since its opening in 1966. The developer first tried to go it alone—proceeding to paint some columns white before county code enforcement officials red-tagged that unpermitted paint job—and it resulted in intense backlash from the community.
But the survey results suggest that the Stanley Group’s group new, more democratic approach may not have paid off. There were 1,059 respondents. “[The survey] was distributed widely through various groups and shared by individuals and through social media,” CVA President Pris Walton wrote in her weekly bulletin. “The respondents represent the entire community. This process was not limited to any group or limited to members of the Carmel Valley Association.”
For each proposed design change, the survey gave five possible responses on a scale: Strongly Agree, Agree, Indifferent, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.
Covering patterned concrete walls and aggregate columns with vertical wood siding? Fifty-eight percent strongly disagree. Paint the center white with grey accents? Fifty-six percent strongly disagree. Removing a water feature in favor of arid climate plants? Yes, you guessed right: 57 percent strongly disagree. How about a new, friendly sign that says, “Heart Carmel Valley”? Sixty-five percent strongly disagree. The developer simply can’t catch a break with the architectural orthodoxy crowd.
How about creating “enjoyment” or “gathering” areas with “a fire pit, seating areas, bocce ball courts and brightly colored umbrellas?” In strong disagreement: 60 percent.
There’s going to be a new community gathering to discuss the proposed but that hasn’t been scheduled yet. Squid wonders if the developer will crowdsource the layout for the meeting: chairs in a circle, or in rows? If they try to reach consensus, they might not even be able to hold the meeting.