Tuttle-Click Capistrano Ford's plans to remodel its future home at the former Dodge dealership need altering, the Planning Commission said Tuesday night.
The "boxy, modern utilitarian" look of the the building, its "disproportionate structure" and hint of Spanish architecture "just don't work," said Commissioner Tim Neely.
"There’s no blending of it ... it looks incomplete architecturally," he continued. "And the thing that makes it even more awkward is the light building color."
Tuttle-Click representatives said that to comply with Ford Motor Co.'s franchise requirements, the Dodge building at 33301 Camino Capistrano must undergo a substantial remodel.
The remodel will expand the empty Dodge building by adding square footage to the first-floor showroom. Also on that floor, offices will be transformed into a parts "boutique," cafe and lounge, and a new service shop will be added to the rear of the structure. On the second floor, existing storage areas will be turned into new offices.
The plans also include grading the back end of the property to construct a terraced parking lot to store vehicles.
Tuttle-Click is currently located in the former Nissan dealership, just a couple of hundred of feet to the south of its future home.
CEO/President Chris Cotter blamed the closure of the Dodge dealership in part on the fact that the land is lower than the street level. So he said it was necessary to plan for a taller building so that potential customers could actually see the dealership when they drive by.
"We did what we could, including raising the height of the building," said Cotter. "If the customers can’t see you, they’ll miss you. They’ll go somewhere else."
Included in the plans are a 38.5-foot-tall tower that will shelter antennas for three cellular wireless carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile and Spring/Nextel). At the top of the tower, Ford wants to stick on a big logo.
The tower drew criticism from the Planning Commission, several of whose members are architects and said they would never support the logo in addition to the dealership's name on the exterior and a monument sign.
"We understand the difficulties of cramming in all of these excessively tall cell towers," said Commissioner Gene Ratcliffe, who went on to say that the commission frequently reviews plans for such structures.
"They end up compromising design significantly," she said.