Subdivision has unique family history in Rancho Santa Fe

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board members were treated to a slice of Covenant history on Feb. 2 as they approved a subdivision for Los Arbolados, owned by the Clotfelter family.

There are currently 11 single family dwellings on the parcel off Via de Santa Fe and the Association approved the subdivision, allowing Clotfelter Construction to convert the dwelling units into 11 condominiums to be sold individually.

There will be no physical changes to the development.

The project is very similar to the neighboring Los Robles of Rancho Santa Fe, a new development of six units next door also owned by the Clotfelters. For comparison’s sake, Clotfelter Construction President Kurt Clotfelter said the Los Robles homes sold for $2.4-$2.7 million but the Los Arbolados are older units and might not be as expensive.

Kurt’s father, Dick Clotfelter, shared his family’s unique history with the board — Dick’s father, Reg, came to Rancho Santa Fe in 1931 as an agent for the Santa Fe Railroad and ran The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, then known as La Morada, from 1940 to 1980. 

Dick was born in Rancho Santa Fe in 1937 and lived in one of the village row houses until 1953. 

“I went to school in the Association offices up there, all six of us in my sixth grade glass. There were 36 in the whole school,” Dick said.

After the war, Reg Clotfelter acquired the village parcel for $300 where the Clotfelter’s office building is today — as Dick said, “He could have bought the entire block for $1,100 cash but he didn’t have it.”

In the 1950s, Reg started building the first cottage homes in the village as an extension of The Inn, meant for longer-term renters. In the 1960s, he bought the property at Los Arbolados with the plan to build houses as he could afford it. “My dad never borrowed a dime,” Dick said.

In 2001, after his father passed away, Dick and his brother Tom (who passed away in 2014) and sister Sue built the last two of the 11 homes that are in the Los Arbolados project. About seven years ago, the family started the six-unit Los Robles project next door — Kurt built three of the four buildings there and last two buildings will be under construction in the next couple months.

“We’re at the point where we’re into the third and fourth generations of the family in Rancho Santa Fe,” Dick said. “There are five grandchildren and step-grandchildren in the Rancho Santa Fe School.”

Some members of the Clotfelter clan still live in the Los Arbolados development but with the subdivision they hope to provide some flexibility for the units, allowing some to be up for sale. Kurt said the development will live up to the requirements of the Covenant, maintaining the common area grounds and having its own well-defined homeowners association.

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