Village design group ‘blasts through’ form-based zoning
By Karen Brainard
Update: The Ramona Village Design Group will meet on Monday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, 960 Main St., to continue reviewing the form-based zoning documents.
The Ramona Village Design Group members had a lively discussion at their meeting on March 8 as they tried to understand and share their opinions of the form-based zoning draft for Ramona’s town core.
Despite some differences of opinions, Chair Rob Lewallen said the meeting was the most productive and efficient meeting in over a year and he scheduled another meeting for March 12, to continue to “blast through” the booklet of proposed zoning and design standards.
The booklet was prepared by Howard Blackson, the PlaceMakers consultant the county hired to develop the form-based codes, also known as custom-tailored zoning. The regulations apply to the village area of Ramona and are intended to preserve and promote the town character while creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment.
As members reviewed the booklet which identified areas of the town core by districts and designated village regulations through charts and color-coded maps, they came up with more questions, adjustments, and the need for clarification.
Some of the questions posed were whether these regulations would then supersede all other zoning regulations and whether three-story buildings should be allowed in town. The group also discussed residential space in mixed-use buildings as noted in the draft.
Members also questioned how the county’s new site plan ministerial checklist, proposed to streamline the building process, would factor in with Ramona’s plans.
Member Steve Powell said he is still concerned about the county process to develop or build in town, adding that Ramona would have a walkable community if someone could get a permit in four or five months.
“We’re avoiding the real crux of the problem and that is the process,” he said. “It’s good to have a process in place. It’s wrong to have something we can’t achieve.”
Other items listed in the form-based zoning booklet are thoroughfares, landscaping, design standards, parking, architectural elements, civic space, and storm water management.
According to Lewallen, the community of Alpine is also working with Blackson to create custom-tailored zoning.
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