The Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved an extension for the Covenant modification process for the Villas at Rancho Santa Fe development at its Oct. 4 meeting. The developers, Quantum Estates, requested additional time for planning and analysis to address some of the issues presented by the Covenant Design Review Committee (CDRC) on their proposal to develop 35 casita homes off Del Dios Highway near El Camino Del Norte
.According to Building Commissioner Tom Farrar, the original six-month time frame for the modification expires in October and the board had the option to extend for an additional six months (the process cannot go longer than a year). Without an extension, the developers would have to start the process all over again, including again gathering signatures from property owners within 500 feet of the parcel.
A Covenant modification requires two-thirds approval from the adjacent property owners by land area and Quantum has received 66.66 percent approval.
The board granted a two-month extension and will make a decision on the Covenant modification at its Thursday, Dec. 6 meeting. Board director Mike Gallagher said he did not want the allowance of extra time to be misconstrued as the board not supporting the CDRC recommendation to deny the modification; it was simply a reasonable courtesy to the applicant.
“(The board) granting an extension should not be taken by anybody as an expression of support or lack of support for the project,” said Vice President Allen Finkelson.
Quantum Estates is seeking a modification from Class A single family homes to Class B, to allow for a maximum of 35 casita homes, changing the 2.86 minimum lot size to accommodate the higher density. There are currently seven legally buildable lots on the on 39.42 acres.
On Sept. 25, the Covenant Design Review Committee recommended denial of the Covenant modification for the “cluster development,” determining that the property does not have adequately-sized building areas and suitable topography, that the rural character and the welfare of the community is not protected and that the lot lines do not conform to the regulatory code.
Matthew Peterson, an attorney representing Quantum Estates, thanked the board for its accommodation with the extension.
Peterson said as Covenant modifications are rare, he believes the CDRC did not correctly analyze the modification request based on the current designation.
Peterson believes the property affected by the proposed modification is consistent with Class B because it contains an adequately sized building area for the applicant’s proposed use of the Villas and is physically and topographically suitable for and consistent with the class of use district proposed.
“With this extension of time we will be reviewing in detail all of the CDRC comments and hope to address their concerns to the board with potential conceptual design changes,” he said.