Hodgepodge of architecture

Letter to the editor 2/7/13 edition

February 7, 2013 

Dear Editor,

I commend T. R. Williams for her column "Build it and they will come ... or will they?," that appeared in the Jan. 31 edition of the Sierra Star. Her descriptions of Oakhurst before the development of the past 30 years shows how much aesthetic charm this town has lost and continues to lose.

Unlike many other gold country towns, Oakhurst lacks a town center where you can park your car and easily walk streets filled with shops, restaurants and sidewalk cafes, or relax and have a picnic in a nice park. Instead, Oakhurst offers urban sprawl in the mountains with shops and restaurants strung out from one end of town to the other and a community park inhabited by homeless alcoholics and drug addicts.

Fortunately, Oakhurst is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. The Chateau Du Sureau looks especially charming and magical nestled into the mountainside amongst the trees. But the town itself is ugly.

There are those who want to enforce the Oakhurst Area Sign Ordinance and put metal fences around ugly vacant lots in an attempt to beautify the town. Oakhurst needs more than that.

Personally, I like the feather signs. Their fluttering banners on curving lines provide softness to an unattractive town in contrast to the rigid harshness of linear signs. Linear metal fences are "cityscape" not "mountainscape."

Oakhurst lacks a unifying vision of how the town should look. As a result, there is a hodgepodge of architecture, building placement, paint color schemes and landscaping. Rather than enforce an outdated sign ordinance or fence in vacant lots, why not organize a committee with community input to develop an aesthetic plan to restore some charm to Oakhurst?

Such a plan could include updated sign requirements and an attractive shopping area with a welcoming village green.

Gail Workman, Bass Lake

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