County explains ‘red tape’ to board
By Karen Brainard
“The county is engaged to reduce red tape,” Dixie Switzer from the Department of Planning and Land Use told Ramona Design Review Board members at their December meeting.
Switzer gave a presentation on the county’s new site plan review process, and handed out drafts of the Design Review Compliance Checklist.
Because of the sometimes lengthy and costly process that some applicants have to go through for a site plan, Switzer said the county tried to come up with an alternative between a waiver and a full site plan review.
“It’s going to be a benefit to the community because you’ll have a better idea of what the end process will be,” she said.
The desire was to come up with a process that does not involve the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), she said. Some projects will not be applicable for the checklist and will still require a full site plan review.
The new checklist is for communities such as Ramona that are zoned with the “B” community design review special area designator.
Switzer said county staff has been giving presentations to communities with “B” designators to receive feedback to apply to the final draft of the checklist. The county board of supervisors will give final approval of the checklist, she said, and the hope is to have it in place by mid-year 2012.
Switzer said of the proposed checklist: “It’s taking the existing guidelines for better or worse and making standards out of them.”
The checklist she presented was specific to Ramona, she added.
It states that site layout design standards should do the following:
•Demonstrate an overall design integrity and a serious attempt to contribute to the beauty and harmony of the community.
•Contribute to the community’s design objectives.
•Develop compatible relationships to the land forms, building placement and existing open spaces of neighboring properties.
•Respect the existing views, privacy, quiet, sun and light exposure of neighboring properties.
•When land use or devlopment patterns require a project to be different from its neightbors, provide a transition from existing to new development by careful placement and massing of buildings, well-designed planting patterns and other means.
•The degree to which neighboring sites and buildings must be considered in the design of a new project will depend upon the value, artchitect and quality and estimated tenure of improvements on the neighboring property, as well as the particular requirements of the new project.
•Preserve the historic character of Old Town Ramona.
•Preserve or recreate the architectural character of Main Street buildings as they looked from the 1890 to early 1920s.
•Maintain the traditional pattern of buildings’ facades located on the front property lines along Main Street.
•Encourage pedestrian traffic by maintaining friendly pedestrian scale and traditional “Main Street” building patterns.
•Locate parking lots away from Mian Street.
•Every project should demonstrate that it has considered the positive influence of neighboring properties and has made a diligent effort to maintain and enhance historic Main Street building patterns.
The checklist is divided by categories with several standards listed in each section. Categories include building location and orientation, parking lots, architecture, landscape, signage, lighting, low impact development, building equipment and services, multi-family residential and industrial development.
Design review board member Rob Lewallen said the Ramona Village Design Group is working on Project Ramona, a plan to revitalize the town core, and hopes to have design guidelines converted into design standards in two to four months.
“How does that jibe with the work you’ve done already?” he asked Switzer.
She said the list would only apply to areas outside the borders of Project Ramona.
“The standards for that area (Project Ramona) will be built into the zoning code,” she noted.
Switzer told the board the presentation was meant to be an introduction and she would like a unified response by the end of January. Board member Greg Roberson, however, said that the board will not meet again until Jan. 26.
In other business, architect and former design review board member Carole Wylie presented minor changes to plans for a Starbucks that will share space at the Bank of Southern California at Main and 13th streets.
Representing the project, Wylie said the Starbucks would be at the east side of the building toward the Ramona Library and would use one of the drive-throughs that the bank does not use. The plan is to have it finished by November 2012, Wylie said. The board endorsed the project .
- County to explain new site plan review process
- Zoning manager says county wants to streamline building process
- Design review board doesn’t like looks of health clinic design
- Design board receives General Plan and Village group updates
- Design board seeks applicants
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