Businesses pose improvement ideas to design review group

Members of the Ramona Design Review Board say Goodwill’s large container in the back of the new store at Main and Ramona streets does not meet county ordinance and detracts from the community. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard
Members of the Ramona Design Review Board say Goodwill’s large container in the back of the new store at Main and Ramona streets does not meet county ordinance and detracts from the community. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

By Karen Brainard

Changes to several businesses in town took center stage at Ramona Design Review Board’s Aug. 30 meeting.

Ramona resident and architect Carole Wylie presented plans for the old post office building at Sixth and D streets that will become the new home for

Ramona Family Naturals.

Wylie said the building is being re-designed to blend in with Old Town. She said the mansard roof will be removed and the front of the building will get an Old Town facade with wood siding and a front porch, but it will keep the front windows.

Her plans include adding trees along D Street, increasing parking spaces, and adding bike spaces. A mural depicting old-time produce is also suggested for the side of the store, she said.

Wylie explained that she wanted the board’s input before she put the entire  package together. Design review board members were receptive to the proposed look.

“I think it’s a great addition to Ramona,” said member Jim Cooper.

“It’s a great business. I like to see it expand and grow,” commented member Greg Roberson.

“I like the simplicity of it,” member Dan Vengler said, noting that the building has been sitting vacant for a long time.

The board also gave  positive comments to a representative for

Kahoots Pet & Feed Store’s

proposed building for Main and Letton streets. Last month the design board  suggested a mural for the front of the new building because proposed signage exceeded what is allowed. The representative said the owners like the idea of the mural and plan to contact the Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project board. The theme would probably be equine-related, he said.

Judy Nachazel, vice president of the H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project showed the board a design she had received for a mural to be installed on the side of the

Ramona Business Barn

, 369 Main St. The mural would be about 60-feet long and represent the equine community of Ramona.

“We’re working very hard to raise the funding,” noted Nachazel. “We’re doing a lot of fundraising.”

Chris Anderson, secretary of the design review board, said a mural project fundraiser will be held on Sept. 29 at San Vicente Inn with local celebrity waiters and waitresses.

Another building in town that may get a facelift, along with a mural, is

Ramona Food and Clothes Closet

at Eighth and Main streets. Jim Holmquist, representing the Food and Clothes Closet, said they would like to cover the wood siding on the front of the building with plaster to improve the appearance.

While the board supported the idea of improving the building, members advised Holmquist to take a look at a rendering that was done about 20 years ago showing how the building could better blend in with Old Town.

“This really can be an enhancement to the street,” said Roberson.

Goodwill Industries

received board approval for a roll-up door in the back of its new store at Main and Ramona streets, but was directed to come up with ideas to either shield or remove the large container in the back lot used for donation drop-offs.

Referring to the container as a movable van or seatrain, members said it is not allowed by county ordinance. Member Dan Vengler, however, said he had heard the county allows them as along as no one complains.

Cooper did complain of the large, bright blue container visible to Ramona Street.

“I just don’t want to see it there. I think it detracts from the community,” said Cooper.

With a large Goodwill sign on the container, Roberson noted that the business then exceeds allotted signage requirements.

Kimberly Fonseca, operations assistant for Goodwill, said she would discuss the options with management and return to the board.

Fonseca said Goodwill plans to employee 30 people for the new Ramona store, and 95 percent of the job applications are from Ramona residents.

   
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