Vol. 9, No. 19 – June 22 – July 5, 2016 – Opinion/Editorial

SheldonPicColor■  You will have  noticed that this issue is in full color. And, it has upgraded paper which enables us to deliver more vibrant ads and higher quality photos to our readers. We have wanted to transition to this format for quite some time now, but to do so required two things….. great support from our advertisers and a new printer that offered these services. I would like to give an emphatic thank you to our advertisers for many years of support which makes this all possible. And, to our great readers, we hope you receive even more enjoyment from the “new” Ventura Breeze.

■   As construction continues on Main Street in Midtown, I would like to remind you that businesses remain open. You may need to follow detour signs or park behind the buildings. The Ventura Breeze wants to support our local businesses through this potentially difficult time and hopes that you will also.

■   I’m glad to see that the City Council has voted to continue financing the Downtown Ventura Partners to provide the Parks Security Ambassador services. I know that many of you don’t see this, but the “Ambassadors” have helped several of our parks remain clean and safe by working with the homeless that frequent them.

The City Council hated the design for this proposed building on Poli.
The City Council hated the design for this proposed building on Poli.

■   I don’t understand the ordinance exactly, but the City Council has approved (by a 6-1 vote) the “net zero” water ordinance which imposes additional fees for new development based upon the projected water usage. The recommended fees were developed by a Water Commission appointed by the City Council.

In approving the ordinance, Councilmember Christy Weir said that she was confident of the work done by the commission and their recommendations.

I just hope that the additional funds are used specifically to solve our water problems. Additional funds seem to always end up in general funds and not used for what they were originally proposed for.

■   Four times a year, City Planning gives the City Council a summary on new major projects submitted to the City.

At a recent City Council meeting, Community Development Director Jeff Lambert gave the Council details about the five projects that were submitted between February and April.

One project (none of them were very well received), a 12-unit residential development with about 1,300 square feet of commercial space on Poli Street – right across from City Hall – was especially disliked and criticized by the Council.

A previous City Council decided that our architecture should be eclectic (compared to, say, Santa Barbara, that must be in the “mission” style).

In this sense, eclectic means “selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles”. In other words, well designed contemporary architecture should be reviewed in the same light as good classical architecture. If that is not what the current City Council desires, it appears. If that is the case, they could make that recommendation to the Design Review Committee (DRC) and to City planning (CP).

In the common course of business, I don’t think that the City Council should be involved in questioning the approvals and recommendations of appointed committees including those of the DRC (which they appoint) and CP (that they don’t appoint).But, based upon the projects I’ve seen that have been approved by the DRC, I’m beginning to be on the side of the Council.

A good example is the building proposed on Poli.

The Council had only negative things to say about this “modern” building, and I certainly agree.

Their responses included, “really horrible”… “it’s just a big mistake in every way”…”this is totally uninspiring”…”it is an eyesore.”

To me, the design looks as if 6 different architects were involved, but didn’t actually get to see what the other one contributed. Reminds of the game where a piece paper is folded and each person draws part of a face. Then, everyone gets to see the entire face when the paper is unfolded.

This isn’t the only building that I feel about in this way. Looking at a few of the newer buildings on the Avenue, there’s no setback, no landscaping and extremely dangerous driveways that open immediately onto the sidewalk where drivers can’t see pedestrians, bike riders, and cars, therefore resulting in a very dangerous situation. All elements that the Poli project also has.

A return to the drawing board and the DRC to re-review this concept, and other similar projects, might be appropriate.

If you didn’t already know, I’m a retired licensed architect and graduate of the USC School of Architecture. I love contemporary design, but it needs to be good design.

■  When Bernie Sanders was in Ventura, the Times’ headline said “Seeking votes in exurbs,” so I looked up exurbs. “A region or settlement that lies outside a city and usually beyond its suburbs and that often is inhabited chiefly by well-to-do families”. Did you know that you were a well-to-do family living outside a city? All this time, I thought that we were a city.

■  Is Ventura becoming the microbrew beer capital of the world (at least per capita)? I don’t have an exact count, but with the several new businesses under construction we must have at least a dozen breweries (including restaurants that also brew their own beer). Is there that much demand for beer? And I don’t like beer.

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