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WEST JORDAN — A large mural painted on the side of the Azteca De Oro Taqueria restaurant at 7800 S. 3200 West is causing some major controversy.
Miguel Galaz, the artist behind the mural, considers it a community project, a canvas for education. But the City of West Jordan sees it differently.
Galaz, a mentor and art teacher at Mana Academy, a charter school in West Valley City, said he uses the side of the restaurant as a teaching tool.
"This is my classroom," he said. "When I come out here, I show the kids about color theory. I show them about their culture."
This is my classroom. When I come out here, I show the kids about color theory. I show them about their culture.
–Miguel Galaz, mural artist
But when West Jordan city code enforcement officers went to check out some complaints about the mural, interim city manager Bryce Haderlie said they found "some violations of the current codes."
City officials have since told the owners of the restaurant to remove the murals or, starting Wednesday, pay a $100 fine every day until it's gone. The order, Haderlie said, has nothing to do with the content of the art; it's the coverage that's the problem.
"They're exceeding the area of the wall that can be covered with a sign or other types of art, things of that nature," Haderlie said.
A West Jordan city ordinance states only 15 percent of a wall can be covered with a sign, and the city considers the Taqueria mural as "signage."
They're exceeding the area of the wall that can be covered with a sign or other types of art, things of that nature.
–Bryce Haderlie, interim city manager
"We do this all the time," Haderlie said. "It has nothing to do with ethnicity or anything of a racial nature."
In a City Council meeting Wednesday night, a handful of voices were heard from the public defending the mural. Since the meeting, city officials have temporarily waived the fines.
The city also plans to work with the restaurant owners and possibly make some changes to the city ordinance when it comes to murals like this.
"There's always opportunity for change, and we'll work with them on that," Haderlie said.