RSF Association to consider bylaw that addresses high density projects

The Rancho Santa Fe Association is taking steps toward strengthening its bylaws regarding high density developments in the Covenant, following a request made by a petition effort.

In October local residents submitted a petition with 275 signatures asking that any changes to zoning, General Plan amendments, annexation/de-annexation or cluster housing efforts within the Covenant boundaries must receive the approval of at least two-thirds majority of all Covenant members.

The board accepted the petition and while there were some inconsistencies with the signatures, “They made a strong case,” RSF Association President Ken Markstein said at the RSF Association board’s Dec. 6 meeting.

The current process for a Covenant modification to increase housing density requires two-thirds approval from the adjacent property owners within 500 feet of the project—as well as Covenant Design Review Committee and Association board approval.

Markstein said he would be working with RSF Association Vice President Allen Finkelson to develop a bylaw amendment that deals with high- density issues—what constitutes “high density” is yet to be defined.

“If a ‘high-density’ project gets approved by the board then it would be taken to a vote of the community,” Markstein said, giving for example the 35-home Villas at Rancho Santa Fe development that the board denied that day. Had the board approved it, under the proposed new bylaw, it would automatically trigger a Covenant-wide vote, needing approval from more than just the neighbors within 500 feet of the project.

Markstein said that he and Finkelson aim to bring the proposed language back to the board in the spring of 2019 to be put before the community to vote on along with the 2019 election of the Association board.

Petitioner Saiid Zarrabian said for years he has been trying to convince the homeowners association to get in front of the issue by strengthening the densification rules and regulations. Residents have fought many development projects with their own time and money.In 2006, an 80 casita development was proposed and denied for the 28-acre parcel on Calzada Del Bosque and Via de la Valle, now known as the Mabee property. While there has been no formal application, preliminary designs for the Rancho Librado development on the property include 55 age- restricted units and four custom estate lots.

Elsewhere in the community, The Sahm Foundation’s Del Rios Ranch on Camino Del Norte and Del Dios Highway has proposed 74 home sites.

The proposed changes would give Association members an extra “road block” to stop any new high-density developments or any cluster housing developments which would allow more than a single dwelling on less than two acres.

“We’ve been fighting this for a long time and I have to commend you,” Zarrabian told the board. “I appreciate the work that’s been done and I think this is an incredible solution.”

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