RSF Association approves new fines for Covenant violations

The Rancho Santa Fe Association will be able to enforce a stronger penalty on members who are in violation of the protective Covenant with the board’s March 1 approval of a new fine schedule. Prior to the adoption of the fine schedule, the only course of action the Association had was to revoke a member’s privileges from the golf and tennis club or prohibit the member from voting in Covenant elections.

Per the regulation, once the code enforcement officer learns of a potential violation, there will be a process followed which includes courtesy noticing and working to resolve the issue. If the issue is not resolved, a board hearing will be scheduled where the board can vote to impose discipline—the member will be given 15 days notice of the hearing. Per the proposed rule, the fine must be paid within five days.

For construction violations, the Association may also issue stop work orders.

The amount of the fines was not made available to the press but Association Building Commissioner Tom Farrar said that they are “fair and reasonable”.

On March 1, the board also approved a new “nuisance and special event” regulation which will target residences that are being used as wedding venues or parties.

Resident Andrew Kaperonis also thanked the board members for their action, hoping that it will prevent his neighbor from operating a “commercial trucking company” next door to his home, an issue he brought before the board in January. Kaperonis alerted the Association about fences topped with barbed-wire (a Covenant violation) and trucks and trailers on the property that he said are noisy, constantly being worked on and a visual blight. The Association’s code enforcement officer Roger Scherer has been involved in the situation since late 2017.

Mike McCarthy, Kaperonis’ neighbor, was in attendance at the meeting to defend himself, speaking up during public comment. McCarthy said he is not running a commercial trucking company but is operating a pet rescue nonprofit that transports animals from high-kill shelters to the Pacific Northwest—he considers it a hobby, not a business.

“I want to abide by the regulations that exist,” McCarthy said, noting that none of his RVs are left idling, none of them are operating at night and that the RVs are not visible from the neighbor’s property.

McCarthy said that no maintenance is performed on the RVs on site and acknowledged that there was a large tractor trailer on his property that he was working on for about five weeks but it is now gone and will not return.

Of the barbed wire on the fence, he said it is the only way he knows to keep the animals safe from coyotes—an issue that will have to be taken up by the Covenant Design Review Committee (CDRC).

Kaperonis said that it was untrue that the RVs are properly screened but President Fred Wasserman would not allow the discussion to continue, noting that it was the wrong forum.

“You have an ‘A’ property (Class District A is “Single Family Dwelling and Farming” ) and there are some limitations on what it can be used for and clearly in the protective Covenant, your property has been used in a manner that is not consistent,” Wasserman told McCarthy.

Director Allen Finkelson was interested in the topic of coyote-protective fencing. He said the community has had a lot of problems with coyotes attacking pets and if the CDRC does elect to make a change to the fundamental rules on that issue, it should be widely announced. He has attempted to install coyote rollers on his fences, which are prohibited.

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