County officials in early March gave Downey 30 days to remove the window paintings. Alex Garcia, a supervising regional planner for the county, said window advertisements can cover only 25 percent of the glass, according to county code. Because Downey’s murals covered most of his store’s front windows – and included some advertisements – county officials gave him a month to remove them, or face an initial penalty of $633 – a fee that would triple if not paid within 15 days. But because Downey is now having an artist remove the advertisements from the murals, they will become merely murals again, not subject to the county’s sign ordinance, Garcia said. “Once you put ads on the murals, the whole thing is considered a sign,” Garcia said. Downey, 62, said he was glad he could reach a compromise with county officials on his murals. “\ found a way to denote \ as art, rather than signs, by having me remove the advertisements on them. I was more than willing to work with them,” he said. Downey put up the murals on his windows two years ago, after deciding that taggers were less likely to paint over a mural. He said he had spent more than $40,000 over the past five years cleaning up vandalism and graffiti from his windows. After he hired an artist to air-brush murals onto his windows, incidents went down by about 85 percent, he said. Ruth Keniston, who lives behind Downey’s store, was largely responsible for spurring the signature campaign in support of the murals. “Exactly what I wanted to happen happened,” Keniston said. “I wanted \ to use discretion in interpreting the ordinance. I couldn’t believe that the beautiful murals were illegal, while ugly etched glass was not.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – When Los Angeles County officials cited local paint store owner Bob Downey last month for putting murals on his windows, Downey thought he’d lost the one tactic that had helped deter vandals – art. But once word got out about the citation, residents living near Downey’s West Whittier Paint store rallied to his defense. On Monday, Downey said supporters collected nearly 400 signatures within a few weeks, which they then presented to county Supervisor Gloria Molina’s field deputy at a neighborhood meeting. Now an artist hired by Downey is restoring the murals – with some small modifications.