approved by Planning
By Jesse Phelps
A palatial estate for the Crown
family, owners of the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, headlined a
number of developments approved by Ojai city planners at Wednesday
night's regularly scheduled meeting.
The commission unanimously granted its approval for the 9,750
square-foot estate, which will sit down in a hollow behind the
eighth golf tee, 165 feet back from Hermosa Road, which will
also serve as the access point.
Commissioner John Mirk lauded the applicant on his choice of
location, saying, "It's the perfect site for the building
because it's so huge."
Commissioner Paul Blatz agreed and humorously pointed out that
the proposed living room "is bigger than most guest houses."
Architect William Mahan said the structure would not intrude
upon the landscape, being visible for "about one second
at 30 miles per hour driving up Hermosa." In order to keep
the natural, country feel of that drive and match the flora from
the Villanova property across the street, Mahan assured chair
Tucker Adams that he also planned to plant a row of oak trees
along the fence line.
Another proprietor's residence also came before the commission,
a conceptual proposal for a second-story addition above the Firebird
Plaza on East Ojai Avenue. While the commission had some doubts
about the project as it was presented, they also said it could
help rectify what they considered many mistakes in the original
In a show of leniency, the commission also elected not to significantly
penalize Rains Department Store owner Alan Rains for building
outside of parameters set forth by staff on a recent renovation.
A debate between Rains and community development director Robert
Casias showed that city staff feels ignored and manipulated.
For his part, Rains said, "Right or wrong, we had an on-site
decision to make and we made it."
Said Casias, "It's not that you didn't know, it's just that
the rules weren't for you."
The commissioners asked that Rains replace some plants he chose
with the original recommended varietals and Adams even offered
to donate her skills as a consultant. In addition, the commission
will require Rains to augment a stamped concrete ground cover
he chose with brick banding matching the rest of the Arcade Plaza.
On a lighter note, the commission granted approval for the replacement
of a modular building with a prermanent preschool facility at
a church site adjacent to Ojai Valley Community Hospital.
Applicant Jim Perkins said the new building will allow a needed
infant-care element for the church community, something the commissions
lauded and had no trouble approving unanimously.
The Ojai Valley News
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