What's the difference between beige and tan? Not much, the Oro Valley Town Council decided on July 15.

Representatives from the Walmart Corporation stood before the council to request the reversal of a Development Review Board decision disallowing the repainting of two sections of the company's new store in the Oro Valley Marketplace.

In May, the DRB rejected Walmart's request to repaint a portion of their building from one shade of tan called "Rattan Basket," to a different shade called "Toasty."

"For a lack of a better word, they're two different shades of tan," said Sean Lake, Walmart's representative from the law firm Pew and Lake.

Most the council agreed, with Councilwoman Salette Latas casting the one vote against the new paint job.

The color change is part of a national re-branding effort for the retail giant that includes a logo change. The company has a separate request pending involving its sign.

The affected areas cover 675 square feet, about 5 percent, of one wall and 760 square feet, 4 percent of a second wall.

DRB members voted against the change because the color "Toasty" was not part of the color palette presented for approval with the original master architectural plan.

"The zoning code allows or anticipates that there can be amendments (to the plan)," Lake said.

He also pointed out previous amendments granted to other tenants of the Marketplace, including Olive Garden and Best Buy.

Oro Valley resident Bill Adler, a former planning and zoning commissioner, supported the change, saying the paint color was not "injurious."

Noting the strong emotions that the retailer evokes among some people, Adler added, "This is the wrong kind of issue to pick on Walmart on."

A Fourth first for OV

This year was the first time in a decade that Oro Valley did not sponsor a town-wide Fourth of July celebration.

In previous years the event was held at Riverfront Park and organized by the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council, now called the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.

Council members Bill Garner and Salette Latas requested the town explore the possibility of the town organizing the event in the future.

On its own, "the town has never done a Fourth of July event," Mayor Paul Loomis said. "This would be a new adventure for us."

According to town estimates, the council would have to budget $35,000 to $50,000 to hold a Fourth of July event.

This year, the council voted to not fund the event. Last year, the town gave GOVAC $25,000 toward the Fourth of July celebration.

Councilman K.C. Carter cast doubt on the cost estimates.

"I think if you say $35,000, you must be joking, it's going to cost a lot more than that, Carter said, adding, "This thing is so vague, it scares the hell out of me."

Town Communications Administrator Mary Davis told the council that the estimates mirror costs from past events.

"The $35,000 is a pretty solid number based on reviewing the expenses from previous years," Davis said.

Davis added the town would anticipate the network of volunteers that had helped organize the event in the past would still be intact if the town took over.

The cost for police to work the event likely would be higher if the town ran it. When GOVAC organized the event, police protection was discounted because of the group's non-profit tax status.

If the town took over, officers would have to be paid their full wages and overtime.

Garner said police costs would be kept down if Oro Valley police working on the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force staffed the event.

The council voted to continue the discussion to a study session in September. Councilman Barry Gillaspie voted against the move.

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