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Deadline looms to remove mural from Mount Dora home

Homeowner could face $250 fine per day starting Monday


MOUNT DORA, Fla. – The deadline to remove a mural painted on a Mount Dora home is approaching and the artist said the homeowner will fight to keep it.

Starting Monday, the homeowner could face daily fines for the mural painted along the wall and almost her entire house in downtown Mount Dora after city officials determined it violated city ordinances.

"They are ready to fight. We don't know what's going to happen," artist Richard Barrenechea said. 

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It took Barrenechea two months to paint the "Starry Night" mural inspired by 19th century Post-Impressionist Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh.

City officials said the mural is illegal and violates the sign ordinance.

Last month, a judge agreed and ruled that the owner had 30 days to paint over the mural. The deadline is Monday. 

"It's supposed to be painted white, the whole scene painted white tomorrow or the owner of the house is going to start paying $250 a day," Barrenechea said.

The homeowner's attorney filed a motion requesting the court temporarily halt the removal order. The city's attorney responded, saying the city opposed the delay.

Barrenechea told News 6 the mural is a tourist attraction. He says it brings in people and their money to Mount Dora. He said he doesn't know why a city that supports the arts would want to get rid of it. 

"It's supposed to be an artistic town and that's a plus for the town. We don't understand," he said.

While the future of the mural is unknown, Barrenechea said one thing is clear. 

"Believe me, we're going to fight with all that we can in the name of the art and the freedom of the residents of Mount Dora," he said. 

News 6 reached out to Mount Dora city officials, who said they couldn't comment because of pending litigation.

News 6 is also waiting to hear back from the homeowner's attorney to find out the latest on the appeal to keep the mural.


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