Members of the Ramona Village Design Group voiced concerns at their April 8 meeting about how the Ramona-specific custom-tailored zoning, developed with Consultant Howard Blackson, will be addressed by the county planners who are working on the General Plan Update and zoning issues.
Greg Roberson said they needed a better handle on what needs to be done in regards to work that the design group and Blackson have accomplished and does not want to see the efforts wasted. He added that to move forward with the custom-tailored zoning, also known as the Ramona smart code, they would probably have to get approval from the Ramona Community Planning Group (RCPG).
Roberson said Devon Muto with advance planning at the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) would probably be the key as to how the smart code will be incorporated into county plans.
Muto has met with the design group and Blackson in the past. Recently Muto met with the RCPG on land use maps and zoning issues for the county’s General Plan Update.
According to Muto, one of the next steps for the design group is to find funding to complete the design plans.
Last year the county hired Blackson with a $50,000 federal Community Development Block Grant to work with the group on the Phase II village design plans. The work included developing the custom-tailored zoning that addresses the physical form of building and development to create character in Ramona.
With that grant money spent, the village design group has applied for a $150,000 grant through the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) in hopes of receiving money to continue with the design work.
Although Blackson was able to prepare the conceptual plans, Muto said there is a substantial amount of work to do, including providing more detail for state regulations in the county Zoning Ordinance. The Ramona-specific custom-tailored zoning will be incorporated into the Zoning Ordinance, he explained.
Muto said he is working on zoning consistency for the general plan. When the General Plan Update is completed, he said, he will work on the county-wide Zoning Ordinance that will include each community’s specific zoning, and there is no required deadline.
Muto said language has been inserted in the Ramona Community Plan that describes the work accomplished by Blackson and lays out the framework for the custom-tailored zoning.
“It would be nice to get this in place and realize the benefits of this,” he said.
Muto said the zoning would need official recommendation from the planning group before going to the county for approval.
In other topics at last Thursday’s village design meeting, members talked about a skate park with Ramona High School senior Josh Wray, who proposed the idea at the group’s January meeting. Wray said he heard the YMCA may open in Ramona and noted that the YMCA has installed skate parks in other communities.
Design group member Torry Brean said the planning group, of which he is also a member, has previously looked into a skate park.
“The end result every time was it needs a maintenance organization,” Brean said, adding that there has never been an organization that would sponsor a skate park.
“YMCA would be great to sponsor it and take on insurance,” he said.
As to the location of a skate park, Wray suggested it should be centralized in town because some kids would want to skate to it. Right now, Wray said he and other students travel to Poway’s skate park.
Wray said he would try to contact someone with the YMCA and was encouraged by Village Design Group Chair Rob Lewallen to continue to attend the meetings to work on the skate park idea.