Thursday, May 8, 2008

Planners OK Design For Ojai Eyesore

By Nao Braverman
While local merchants are concerned about the increasing commercial vacancies in downtown Ojai, one prominent eyesore is on its way to a long-awaited makeover.
At Wednesday night’s Planning Commission meeting, commissioners granted a design review permit to Arnold Meyerstein for his plans to remodel the abandoned Texaco station on the corner of Ojai Avenue and Ventura Street.
Meyerstein Trust purchased the property in November 2006, and brought the redesign concept to a July 2007 planning meeting. Commissioners, who offered many suggestions during the July meeting, accepted plans presented Wednesday evening as a significant improvement.
The dilapidated building, though situated in an ideal location for commerce, was vacant for about 10 years prior, mostly due to a leaking underground storage tank that contaminated the site.
Now that the top soil has been remediated and deemed safe for construction by county officials, Meyerstein and his ownership group decided to fix up the building to make it more attractive to lease or sell.
The present design for the 110 W. Ojai Ave. property, once known as Roland's Exxon, has recessed windows with plaster trim and a brand new entryway.
Architect Marc Whitman said that the intent was to clean up the building, but keep it intact as much as possible, with a rustic Old-World look that is still aesthetically appealing. Property owners imagine that it could house a restaurant or retail space but have nothing specific in mind.
According to associate city planner Kanika Kith, although the top soil has been remediated, there is still some groundwater contamination on a portion of the property that is expected to be remediated over time. The building would be protected from contamination with an impermeable ground cover.
Another longtime vacancy at 205 N. Signal St. is on its way to becoming the World Flavor Cafe.
“This restaurant has been in the planning stages in my head for 20 years,” said applicant Susan Kapadia.
Commissioners approved the design review to turn the vacant building into a restaurant that serves beer and wine and has outdoor patio seating along Signal Street. The property neighboring Joe’s Quick Stop Mini Mart was most recently used as office space and housed Essential Aromatics before that, but has remained vacant for about two years. It also served as the original home of Doug Crawford Insurance. The building is expected to remain the same with some landscaping improvements, the addition of red terracotta, sun umbrellas and a new awning.
Planners approved the project but asked for the parking design to come back to a future meeting for approval.
“I think they have a great thing for what’s going on with the economy right now,” said property owner Bill Monnot. “It’s properly priced, it’s good for downtown workers who want to eat in or take out, but it’s not Subway.”

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if the Museum could expand onto this property. Maybe the same people who hope to come up with $30,000,000 for a performing arts center can raise a little extra and buy this place, too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe those related to
"bluebloods" can tap into their family net worth and make this happen, instead of telling other people how to spend their money.

Anonymous said...

Maybe those related to
"bluebloods" can tap into their family net worth and make this happen, instead of telling other people how to spend their money.


No, I think I'll just keep doing it my way. (Now you can tell me how you're going to make me stop, right?)

Anonymous said...

You are failing completely, so how would you be able to tell the difference between doing it your way or if anyone stopped you?

James Hatch said...

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Anonymous said...

Seems like The Oaks could put that property to use.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the cheap shots
which are always easy and spineless when you sign as anonymouse.I would be OK
with a benefactor buying
the property doing whatever,
but you all miss the point. Anything would be an improvement over a vacant gas station which has stood empty and grown over with weeds for years.PL

Anonymous said...

Oh, and furthermore Anonymouse, no one here is telling other people
how to spend their money, except
maybe to suggest a $30M public
funds of Ojai pricetag is a bit steep for a performing arts complex with a McStarbuck's and wine and cheese after the show!

Anonymous said...

well we might loose some schools and good teachers but don't confront the fact that the economy is collapsing and real hard working Americans can Berle make it to work in the 2nd owner car that is better than that shinny piece of crap you call luxury that cant do the work my work horse can in a single day get off your a## and help or shut up or better yet keep buying that expensive crap that you don't really need it just puts more $$$ in the hands of those who did not earn it and don't deserve it also look up the amero and union of Canada America and Mexico open border policy indeed no sovernty no bill of rights just a union happy hunting and by the way anonymity keeps fascist a holes from harming you for your opinion single track minds have ran this country for to long i am a patient man but patients is wearing thin time for action over throw the bush admin and the one world government down with new world order live and let live and ask questions question authority secret society do exist and control elections and are responsible for most of what poverty 12,000 people just died from hunger and dies and we are loosing things we did not know we had and all you can say is no starbucks all big corporations need to be brought back down to reality what i have is just enough to do what i need to and be happy no more no less we consume more than we need for fear of running out stop consuming so much and start giving back to who needs it most help not hurt it is easy to hurt and is harder to help