Local

Off-white or white? Neighbors battle over wall’s paint color

Bob McGrath, a resident of Southern Village, stands alongside a wall that's under construction near his home. McGrath and others in the subdivision want the wall to be painted off-white and the township, which is building the wall, wants it to be white. It’s currently unpainted.
Bob McGrath, a resident of Southern Village, stands alongside a wall that's under construction near his home. McGrath and others in the subdivision want the wall to be painted off-white and the township, which is building the wall, wants it to be white. It’s currently unpainted. The Wichita Eagle

It’s a dispute HGTV would love.

Minneha Township is building a wall along East Central, east of K-96, in front of the Southern Village subdivision.

The township board plans to paint the wall bright white, the same color it painted the walls in front of two nearby subdivisions, all bordering the southern edge of Crestview Country Club.

But most members of the homeowners association say they want it painted off-white to match the color of the subdivision’s decade-old entryway.

White or off-white? The dispute has caused some bruised feelings.

Longtime resident and homeowners association officer Bob McGrath has led the charge after learning about the color of paint. He dubs it “stark white.”

He polled the subdivision’s residents. He still has forms from 46 of the 55 homes indicating they preferred the off-white, while just three preferred the bright white. The rest had no preference or didn’t respond.

He has met with Don Gragg, the trustee of Minneha Township, several times to explain his position — and gotten nowhere.

“The whole thing is pretty silly,” McGrath said. “It’s like it’s an opportunity for somebody to be in control.”

Townships are districts in unincorporated parts of the county, governed by a board of elected residents, with the power to tax and the responsibility to take care of some roads and drainage.

Although Minneha Township no longer maintains East Central, it has an easement along the side. Most of the homeowners in Southern Village have welcomed the wall as a way to dampen noise and block the activity on Central.

Gragg, who lives a couple of houses away from McGrath, said the bright white color was set in a meeting last year with the two other subdivisions, and the board just continued it with this project. The paint has already been ordered, he said. The paint and the labor to paint the wall would be about $40,000.

Gragg, a Sedgwick County commissioner for eight years in the 1980s, said he’s not convinced the whole subdivision is against it.

“What we are hearing is not what he is saying,” Gragg said of McGrath. “The majority of people are fine with it.”

The wall is more or less a gift, anyway, he said.

“They don’t have a penny in it,” Gragg said.

John Wells, a Southern Village Homeowners Association board member, acknowledged that the whole thing could seem petty to outsiders.

“It may seem a trivial issue,” he said. “It’s not to us. We have to see that every day. We just want it toned down a little.”

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

  Comments