Moline’s “Rainbow House” gets reprieve

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A picture of the rainbow house from Taylor Berg's petition.

MOLINE — A house painted in rainbow colors that had been targeted for code violations because of the paint job is now free and clear.

Earlier this week, the Dispatch-Argus of Rock Island reported that the house’s owner, Taylor Berg, had gotten a notice of violation for the colors.

According to the newspaper, the notice read in part, “Violation of building design code sec. 35-5501(4)(a). Building colors should be complementary with other buildings on the block and sec. 35-5501(b) primary colors are prohibited for use as a wall color for all building facades in the R-2 district. Primary colors in off-white pastel shades are permitted.” Berg was facing a $750 per day fine if she didn’t repaint.

Berg started a petition on Care2 to get public support. As of Friday, it had more than 16,000 signatures from all over. And it seems to have helped.

The Quad Cities Times reported on Friday that the city and withdrawn the notice and even given a formal apology.

Moline Acting Zoning Administrator Chris Mathias hand-delivered a letter to Berg Thursday evening telling her that the city would not pursue fines and the house could stay as it is.

“The courtesy notice concerning a violation of section 5501 is hereby withdrawn and rescinded,” the letter stated, according to the newspaper. “After further review and consultation with additional city staff, we have determined that section 5501 does not apply to this situation. We apologize for any stress and confusion that we may have created.” 

Moline’s mayor, Stephanie Acri, said the notice shouldn’t have gone out. The ordinance is for newly-built homes, not existing ones. She told the Times that it would be discussed at the July 21 city council meeting.

“We will clarify for the community and for the council, what First Amendment rights mean and why this is allowed,” Acri said. “We didn’t know anything about it until it came out on social media. That’s how we found out about it. (Berg) has my support on her side.”

Berg, of course, was thrilled.

“I never expected it to get this big from everyone sharing it,” she told the Times. “This was support from all over (the world); I just never expected this when I painted my house. First off, I didn’t think my house would offend anybody or be complained about.”

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