RSF Association’s April meeting to be limited to essential business

RSF Association offices
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe Association is planning to hold a teleconference board meeting on Thursday, April 2.

According to Manager Christy Whalen, the tentative plan is to post a call-in number for participants as well as members who would like to listen in. The board will hear only items that are deemed essential for business continuity to preserve Association property and address safety concerns.

The board was set to consider three proposed changes to the regulatory code at its April meeting but it appears that they will now be postponed to a later date.

Association Building Commissioner Maryam Babaki has been working on the new regulations concerning roofs, solar projects and lot coverage. The new regulations were posted for a 30-day public comment period that ended on Feb. 6— the Art Jury provided significant comments that were incorporated into the proposed changes.

At its December 2019 meeting, the board discussed the proposed adjustments to lot coverage to prevent over-development in the Ranch. Babaki noted that trends in new home construction are for bigger homes, more accessory structures and “excessive” hardscape—on average, homes that are getting rebuilt in the Ranch are 33 percent bigger than they originally were and that does not include paved areas, tennis courts, pools and all the accessory structures.

The proposed regulation changes the definition of structures that are included in its calculation of lot coverage, which is capped at 20%. Currently, calculations include only covered roof areas—that does not include tennis courts, swimming pools, walkways and driveways. Exceeding 20% lot coverage rarely happens and is not always relevant due to the large sizes of many Covenant lots although Babaki has said that there have been a few occasions where if all accessory items were included, lot coverage has exceeded 20%.

The proposed amendment would include all areas covered by pools and water features, including, and up to a 4-foot wide perimeter paved pool decking and/or walkway, and all areas covered by tennis courts and/or sports courts in the lot coverage calculation.

At the board’s Feb. 6 meeting, Covenant resident and former Association board member Allen Finkelson urged the board to withdraw the proposed lot coverage regulation. Finkelson said as “structure” defines anything constructed and the proposed regulation excludes driveways, patios, and decks from the coverage calculation, the regulation “would be void on its face if adopted.”

“While the board has the authority to interpret the Covenant and to adopt superseding regulations to take into account changes in the law, the board has not attempted to do either in the instant case,” Finkelson said. “As a result, the proposed regulation is unlawful as it would be a regulation purporting to change the lot coverage to 30 percent.”

Resident Patricia Astier also asked the Association to reconsider the “unfair” proposal in an open letter to the board.

“Your proposed amendment to include pools, pool decks, tennis and sports courts in the 20% coverage allowance targets the smaller lots. It will have a negative impact on some future sales as well as additions and remodels, thereby inviting friction and litigation,” Astier wrote. “It is time to enforce our very comprehensive regulatory code, not to add outlandish restrictions.”