The Old Worthington Partnership has decided to change its approach in lobbying for what its leaders see as art.

The partnership, led by executive director Annina Parini, had hoped to paint a large "Welcome to Worthington" mural on the south side of La Chatelaine French Bakery & Bistro at 627 High St.

But the mural was rejected by the city's architectural-review board in October.

The board and city staff members said they had to consider it as a sign application because the city code contains no specific language about murals. Signs cannot have more than four colors without needing a variance in Worthington and murals require far more than four colors.

After the ARB denied the variance in a 3-3 decision, Parini and other leaders of the partnership decided to appeal the decision to Worthington City Council on Dec. 11.

But when the meeting came around, the appeal was withdrawn by the applicants.

Parini said the goal of the appeal was to "bring the (mural) conversation to the forefront," which already had happened.

"The appeal accomplished that," she said. "And because we're a good community partner, we understand the need for continuation and to have a process for future mural regulations or an ordinance. We want to play a role in that ordinance."

At the meeting, Councilman Doug Foust directed staff members to form a "task force" to develop a "policy" on murals within the city, and other council members supported the idea.

"I think everyone has received letters both for and against (murals)," council President Bonnie Michael said. "This makes sense to have a big community conversation about it."

Parini said she hopes she and at least another partnership representative would be on that task force, given what the organization brings to the table.

"Our organization is the organization that's sort of in Old Worthington day-to-day," she said. "Our board keeps an eye on what's going on, and our mission is to enhance the experience of Old Worthington. So I would think our participation is an obvious choice.

"We have relationships with all the building owners and all the merchants and several of us live in the neighborhood, so we would be a logical choice."

Council members directed city officials to prepare for a discussion on the policy in January.

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