SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A mural painted on the outside of a Bayview nail salon is causing some controversy in the San Francisco neighborhood.
Now the owner is being forced to take it down.
Of all the murals in San Francisco, it is the innocuous cherry blossoms outside of the Luxurious Nail Boutique & Spa that are causing a controversy.
“This is beautification of the neighborhood,” said Richard Washington.
Washington opened the nail salon on busy Third Street in the Bayview this past January. He worried about visibility, so applied for a grant to spruce things up, adding awnings and the mural.
The problem was he didn’t realize the exterior painting was a violation of his lease.
“No not at all. I would not have even started this project,” said Washington.
The local homeowners association has ordered Washington to paint over this mural in two weeks, but doing so means throwing away taxpayer dollars.
The $25,000 grant came from the Housing and Urban Development Budget. If the mural is painted over, because the work was already commissioned, a large portion of this public money will be completely lost.
The homeowners association declined a KPIX 5 request to discuss the issue on camera, but released a statement.
“There was never any verbal or written communication about painting a mural on the exterior of the building,” the statement read. “Mr. Washington signed and received a copy of the building HOA rules when he signed his lease. These rules are very clear and they prohibit any murals.”
Washington has lived in the Bayview for 30 years. Grants like the one he received aren’t easy to get, but are meant to help small business owners thrive. He knows this neighborhood has a rough history, he grew up in it, but he’s seeing it change for the better. And he wants to be a part of that.
“I thought that I was making, you know improvements,” said Washington.