A pink house and beauty business in downtown Hudson, Wis., has City Hall seeing muted red — or brown, gray or beige.
Brooke Fleetwood said she’s going to fight for the color she chose for her seven-year-old business, BB Makeup & Cosmetic Bar at 510 3rd St. S., just off Hudson’s main commercial street.
“Pink is my trademark. It’s who I am. It’s my business model,” Fleetwood said Friday. Her nearby residence also is the same pink that she describes as a cross between bubble gum and hot pink with blue undertones.
But the residence is in a different zoning area from the downtown house she bought two years ago for her business headquarters. City Hall is concerned only about her pink business. A city zoning official sent Fleetwood a letter last month telling her the pink house was out of compliance with the neutral colors required in the downtown area.
“I feel like I’m being targeted because there are businesses in downtown Hudson that did not get their [color] swatches approved,” she said.
In the letter dated Aug. 22, Mike Johnson, Hudson zoning administrator, told Fleetwood she’s in violation of the ordinance for the downtown district that requires buildings to be “subtle or neutral colors.” He cites the ordinance, which says, “recommended colors include browns, grays, tans, beiges and dark or muted greens, blues and reds consistent with historic Hudson.”
Johnson noted that Fleetwood was told a year ago that painting pink over the house’s neutral off-white would be a violation of city ordinance. She went ahead with the pink about two months ago. After she received the letter from City Hall, Fleetwood appealed the decision to the city’s Design Review Committee and said she would take legal action if necessary.
She’s also started an online petition — receiving about 6,000 electronic signatures — that she said she will present to City Hall to support her case.
Fleetwood started her own makeup line that she sells in her shop. With her staff of five, she offers makeup lessons, hairstyling and other beauty services. Her commitment to her favorite hue continues inside the shop bedecked with pink glitter wallpaper.
“I have people from all over the world who come and see me,” she said. “They go eat downtown. They shop. They spend money. They don’t just come to me when they’re in town from out of state.”
In a written statement, Johnson said Friday that the color requirements were in an ordinance adopted in 2007. The next step is for the Design Review Committee to hear Fleetwood’s appeal. No date has been set for that. If Fleetwood doesn’t like that panel’s ruling, she can make her case to the full City Council.