Design Review Board critical of county checklist
By Karen Brainard
Ramona Design Review Board members said there appears to be a disconnect between their views and the county’s views of a proposed checklist developed by the Department of Planning and Land Use to streamline the site plan review process.
The comments came at the design review board’s July 26 meeting after Ramona Community Planning Group Secretary Kristi Mansolf told members that the county suggested they give a presentation on the compliance checklist to the planning group.
Board members responded that they gave their feedback on the checklist, at the county’s, request, about four months ago and never received a response.
Greg Roberson, a member of the design review board and the Ramona Village Design Group, said the checklist is an unresolved issue.
“There are fatal flaws in what we see,” he said.
In December 2011, Dixie Switzer from DPLU handed out drafts of the checklist to the design review board. She explained that the checklist would be for communities such as Ramona that are zoned with the “B” community design review special area designator for the site plan review process.
At Thursday’s meeting, Chair Debi Klingner said the checklist consists of boxes to check off for design guidelines. Several board members were critical of the 18-page list and questioned how it would apply when the Ramona Village Design Group is working on design standards for the village core that will be required once they are in place.
According to design review board member and village design chair Rob Lewallen, county staff said the checklist would not apply to the village design plan area. Lewallen said 90 percent of the community is in that area.
Roberson noted that the list contains check-off boxes for the commercial area of Ramona—an area that will be covered in the village design standards.
Design review board’s Jim Cooper said he couldn’t cross reference a majority of items.
“The checklist was so incomplete, I couldn’t track things across,” he said. “We are waiting for them (county) to finish their manipulation of it.”
Lewallen suggested a joint meeting be held with the design review board, the village design group, and the planning group to discuss the checklist.
In other business:
•The board reviewed proposed signage for Kahoots Pet & Feed Store, which plans to construct a new building at Letton and Main streets. Because the lettering exceeded signage requirements, board members suggested eliminating the Kahoots logo that incorporates a group of animals from the signage and instead work with the Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural Committee to have an animal-themed mural painted on the building. Representatives for Kahoots said they would come back to the board next month with revised signage plans.
•The board ratified a letter that Klingner wrote to the county regarding the Sol Orchard proposed solar farm for property at Ramona Street and Warnock Drive. Klingner said the letter identifies what the board is recommending for tree sizes, irrigation and other landscaping issues.
Although the Ramona planning group opposes the solar project, it will go to the county Planning Commission for a vote. The majority of design review members approved the letter. Member Carol Close abstained from voting, saying their job description is to keep the Ramona area rural and this project would not protect the rural atmosphere.
Lewallen replied that their job is to review site plans and they cannot say whether a project should be in a location.
“It’s a muddy area,” Lewallen said of the job description.
•Members Evelyn McCormick, Close and Roberson, whose terms are ending, were all approved for re-appointment to three-year terms. Roberson had indicated he would not seek another term, but agreed to do so as the board received no new applicants.
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