ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — A decision almost two months in the making: On Wednesday, the Altoona Zoning Board approved a variance for Vicini Realty, who owns the building at 1211 11th Street, confirming that Wise Guys Pizza’s mural depicting a scene from Scarface does not need to be removed.
The decision was not unanimous. Three board members were in favor of a variance, and two were against it, but it still stands. The mural can stay.
“They push revitalization. This is part of revitalization. You gotta step outside the box. It definitely gives me momentum and happiness that I think is gonna help other businesses too,” owner of Wise Guys Pizza Bob Goss said.
Goss added his business has sky-rocketed since the addition of the mural, almost tripling his sales.
“There’s still new customers that come in and say that that’s why they come in,” he said.
The two board members who voted against the variance argued a certain section of the mural made it a sign.
“The issue was the arrow, and the two members that voted against granting the variance were opposed to the arrow itself, not to the word pizza, not to the other contents of the mural, just to the arrow,” Traci Naugle, Substitute Solicitor for the Altoona Zoning Board, said.
The variance that was granted Wednesday afternoon covers the existing artwork, so any future artwork that will be added to the mural must go to the zoning board for pre-approval.