Village design group’s public workshops begin Aug. 8
By Karen Brainard
After a two-year interval, the Ramona Village Design Group, San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) and PlaceMakers are back working on a town center plan for Ramona. They will conduct workshops open to the public from Aug. 8 to 13.
Called Project Ramona, goals of the plan are to revitalize Main Street and ensure that what happens in the future will fit with the character of Ramona. Project Ramona is being billed as “a town center plan connecting countryside, commerce and character.”
Residents are invited to attend an opening presentation with a question and answer session from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8, and a mid-week pin-up of work in progress from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sessions will be held in the Ramona studio at the Century 21 building, 2102 Main St.
The public is also invited to the final presentation from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, in the Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane.
In August 2009, the village design group and PlaceMakers, a consulting firm, held a similar series of workshops that produced a document with form-based codes, street and retail designs, and a market report for the Paseo area of downtown from Pala to 10th streets. The work was stalled due to lack of funding.
Now, with grant money from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the county, totaling $150,000, village design group members are hoping to see the project completed.
Residents interested in seeing the design work that was previously accomplished, along with a schedule and plans for the upcoming workshop can access the website: www.projectramona.com.
On the website, a map depicts the study area continuing east from 10th to Third streets, and west from Pala to Etcheverry Streets.
By the end of the workshops, the project team says in a flyer, a master plan will be drafted “and a way to implement it through a regulatory framework customized for the look and feel of Ramona.”
The village design group met last Monday to discuss the workshop schedule, as provided by Howard Blackson, the project manager from PlaceMakers, who led the workshops two years ago. Also involved in Project Ramona is Joe Farace, a zoning project manager from DPLU.
Rob Lewallen, president of the village design group, said, “This is a pilot project for the county. It’s going to be the benchmark that other unincorporated areas go from.”
Lewallen told the village design members that he recently attended a meeting with DPLU staff where discussion centered on how to streamline the development process. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was mentioned as being a big problem for development, he said.
Although Project Ramona will create design standards for development, members still questioned whether that will actually help streamline the process with the county.
“I have lost a tremendous amount of confidence in the system,” said Steve Powell, a member of the village design group and president of Woodcrest Homes Inc.
Powell added that Ramona’s biggest problem is “we are an unincorporated area of a monster.”
He and other members noted that countless studies have been developed for Ramona, including many studies on traffic and environmental impacts, but still, they said, development or building projects have become costly, drawn-out, complicated procedures with the county.
- Village design group to apply for grant
- Ramona Village Design Group nears zone completion
- Village design group sets workshop dates
- Village Design Group waits for funding
- Village design group focuses on medians
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