Project Ramona: PlaceMakers Has the Right Plan

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that something needs to be done with Main Street to make it more pedestrian friendly and to create more of a destination location instead of the drive through it currently is. PlaceMakers, a firm that specializes in creating character and a sense of place, has been funded with a grant from CalTrans and Neighborhood Reinvestment to develop form-based codes to accomplish this as opposed to use-based conventional zoning. In other words, let’s plan our future instead of our future being planned for us.

PlaceMakers’ plan is vital for Ramona to entice more businesses downtown and to establish a center of town where residents and visitors will want to come to shop, dine and enjoy the ambience of our town. A similar project was done some years ago in downtown Gilroy. The four-lane stretch of road through the middle of downtown was redesigned with wider sidewalks, additional landscaping that provided even more space for pedestrians and caused the traffic flow to slow down just enough to allow for a leisurely ride through the downtown area and to make notice of the various businesses as well. This is what Ramona needs.

The biggest stumbling blocks for any development will be reducing the high transportation impact fees, sewer mitigation fees and the environmentally protected vernal pools. Howard Blackson, project manager with PlaceMakers, has said that the fees and vernal pools will be addressed. Let’s hope this can be accomplished. All of the pieces are there for Ramona to become a unique destination with design standards to facilitate future growth while maintaining the character that is Ramona. Bottom line, let’s not become another Poway. Instead let’s implement a strategic plan that makes sense and move forward.

Jeff Mitchell

Publisher

   
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