Design review board doesn’t like looks of health clinic design

By Karen Brainard

Ramona Design Review Board sent Palomar Pomerado Health (PPH) officials and architects back to the drawing board to revise their medical clinic design.

Aaron Warner with Mascari-Warner Architects and Michael Shanahan, director of facilities planning development for PPH presented the plans for a one-story, 7,600-square-foot medical building on 13th Street across from the Ramona Library. The clinic will contain urgent care and primary care. There will be room to expand on PPH’s two adjacent parcels, Shanahan said at the Oct. 27 meeting.

Design review board members said the building design was different from the two-story, nearly 37,000-sqaure-foot building they approved almost two years ago. The clinic has since been downsized due to the economy and fewer tenants, said Shanahan.

Chair Debi Klingner said she was not a huge fan of the new style.

“It doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor the big one did,” she commented.

Member Greg Roberson said he was disappointed in the design and described the scale of the project and the look as residential. He pointed to the hip roof over the entry of the rectangular building and said that gives it a residential feel. Roberson asked that the roof form be changed.

“In my opinion, a dated design,” he said. “To me, the project, the look of the building…doesn’t do anything, doesn’t invite me.”

Design Review Board member Rob Lewallen also said he was not happy with the architectural style.

“We have all the intention of making this a high pedestrian area,” Lewallen said, mentioning future plans for the Ramona Intergenerational Community Campus to be added to land adjacent to the library.

“And they’re improving the street, so it’s going to get a lot more traffic,” added member Carol Close.

Warner agreed that the building was almost on a residential scale and said they didn’t want to give it a prominent entry. Shanahan and Warner talked about the possibility of expanding one day either by adding to the building or putting in additional buildings at the site.

Design review member Dan Vengler said he is concerned that, if the economy gets worse, PPH could sell one or both of the vacant parcels “and something else could go up there.”

Vengler also said he thought Ramona would be getting a lot more medical services and questioned what the community was getting from the $496 million bond voters approved in November 2004.

“I’m sorry it’s something smaller,” responded Shanahan. “We never had emergency care. We always had urgent care and that’s what we’re providing.”

The design review board also reviewed landscape plans, presented by John O’Malley with Weiland and Associates, and requested some changes. The board tabled approval and asked the architects to bring revised site plans to the design review board’s next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 17.

Although the plans for the clinic were approved by the Ramona Community Planning Group at its Oct. 6 meeting, that vote was made pending approval by the design review board.

In other business, the design review board voted in a new member for its remaining open seat.

Jim Cooper, a builder and a former member of the design review board, received the most votes for the seat. County supervisors must approve Cooper’s appointment.

Also expressing an interest in the board position was Nicole Ward, a Realtor and past president of the Ramona Real Estate Association, who attended the meeting. Roberson said Carol Fowler, a Realtor and member of the Ramona Village Design Group, was also interested but could not make the meeting.

Related posts:

  1. Design Review approves health center plans, library colors
  2. Mobile signs, board candidates top design review talks
  3. One seat still open on Design Review Board
  4. Two seats open on Ramona Design Review Board
  5. Design Review Board seeks candidates for open seat

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Nov 10 2011. Filed under Government, News, Ramona. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

5 Comments for “Design review board doesn’t like looks of health clinic design”

  1. Mario

    Not mentioned in the article is the difference in budget for the scaled-down proposal vs. the original 37,000 square foot creature. Given that the “economy is bad”, I would only be able to assume that the new 7,600 version is proportional to the given budget. So, is the “design board” (it is questionable about who exactly occupies the seats on so-called design boards) wanting more for less? They want all the hoopla, but don’t want to pay for it?

    Secondly, what’s wrong with a medical clinic designed to fit in with the community? It was stated that the current proposal “…doesn’t do anything, doesn’t invite me.” Do we as citizens really _want_ to be invited to a hospital? Seriously, let’s take it easy on being sick and injured. How about being invited to something in the community that is healthy and preventative (i.e.: public parks, gardens, etc.) as opposed to treating after-the-fact illnesses. Okay, change the front gable, but let’s not dwell on some structure that is more fitting to downtown Tokyo and look at the vernacular (hint: Venturi) of Ramona.

  2. Doug Humphries, Architect

    Articles like these are almost useless without posting the renderings of the Design being commented on. I agree with Mario’s first paragraph but I do think that even a place that one has to go to when ill should be pleasant and inviting. But then the term “inviting” is completely subjective.

  3. Brent

    The concerns that I have regarding this article are less specific to the PPH building, but are more global in nature.

    As architects, we are trained in design, we study the theories of design, and history of architecture styles as they evolved through the centuries. Yet as design professionals, we submit our designs that have developed through thousands of decisions, influenced by codes, function, maintenance and budget to design review boards that have typically do not have formal training in design, planning or real estate in general. Yet, design review boards have far too much power on the influence of building design. Inhibiting architect’s design and the owner’s vision.

    Of greater concern regarding design review boards, is their ability to take away or manipulate individual property rights by restricting the design of a privately owned building on private ground. Unless the design review board (or the jurisdiction they represent) participates in the added cost resulting from the findings of the design review board, then the board should not have the authority to influence design. Simply put, who is the design review board to spend an owner’s money?

    When people ask me about design review boards and design requirements, I relate them to something all can understand. Say you want to buy a car, your needs justify a small economy car and that is what your budget can accommodate. But the city in which you reside requires all citizens to buy a luxury car regardless of your need or budget. Why? Because it conveys the image the city wants.

    I leave you with this question to consider, “In 1906, would an Oak Park design review board approved FL Wright’s design of the Unity Temple design?”

    • Doug Humphries, Architect

      I agree with Brent. They give us Planning & Zoning rules, we design within those rules then we get nitpicked to death by Nitwits ultimately wasting more of our time and possibly ruining our Design. There was an article about how the City of Santa Monica, CA will no longer have an Architect on their board because of a City Attorney decision that a Design Board Member that has a project within the City cannot simply recuse themselves from reviewing any of their own projects. No Architect in Santa Monica wants to preclude themselves from doing work in their own community.

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