RSF Association prepared to continue services for members during pandemic

The RSF Association board's first virtual meeting.
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe Association has been working to adapt to the changing daily realities of the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring that it continues to provide services and safety to its members.

“In the nearly 100 years of the Association, I don’t think we’ve had a month quite like this,” said RSF Association Manager Christy Whalen at the Association’s first-ever Zoom board meeting on April 2.

Whalen said the preparations to respond to the pandemic began in early March before the statewide restrictions went into effect. The Association gathered all department managers and leaders to discuss preparedness and plans. They were able to order wipes, hand sanitizer and other disinfectants before those items became scarce and they set up remote work stations and office phone forwarding. Following the governor’s stay-at-home order for all non-essential workers, employees started working from home in staggered shifts.

The Rancho Santa Fe Patrol continues to be on full duty to protect residential properties and Association assets.

“They have been working with the sheriff’s department and other law enforcement entities and have really provided a valuable service during these times,” Whalen said. “I think they’ve done a lot to really calm down our members and provide a sense of safety and security.”

Parks employees are also working staggered shifts, completing roadside maintenance and crucial springtime fire mitigation work, addressing tree trimming and brush abatement.

The Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club is closed, as is the Tennis Club and the Osuna Ranch is only open to boarders. The Golf Club restaurant continues to offer take-out meals and Whalen said they are serving about 140 meals a day.

“One of our challenges is the trails,” said Whalen of the private equestrian and hiking trails that wind through the community, many of them on private property.

Whalen said as other communities have closed trails and parks, they are seeing an influx of use on the trails from people that are not residents. They have placed signage to remind all trail users that the trails are for Covenant residents only and as the signs were not enough, the Association’s code enforcement and RSF Patrol officers will occasionally be out asking for addresses and member numbers. Whalen said she understands that it might be an inconvenience but asked that Association members be patient: “We’re trying to protect everyone’s personal space and protect our own exclusive trails for our members.”

Art Jury meetings may possibly resume in April in keeping with the governor’s mandate. The Association board’s May annual meeting and board member election will now be postponed seven weeks to July 2. Ballots will be mailed on July 2 with an Aug. 5 deadline to submit. The two board members with expiring terms, President Rick Sapp and Steve Dunn, will continue to serve until Sept. 1.

The Rancho Santa Fe Connect fiber internet project continues although Race Communications has had to change the way it does in-home installations. While outside conduit work continued, home installations were on hold for a little over a week due to training and ordering personal protective equipment for workers.

“We’re really excited that we’re able to continue with this project,” Whalen said. “This project has proven itself to really be vital to our community as lots of people are home looking to stream Netflix and kids are looking to do online school work. We’re understanding more than ever the importance of this high-speed internet service that we’re offering.”