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RSF Association to consider alternative uses for Osuna Ranch

Osuna Ranch during a past Celebrate Osuna event (held several years before the COVID-19 pandemic).
Osuna Ranch during a past Celebrate Osuna event (held several years before the COVID-19 pandemic).

(File)

The future of the Osuna Ranch, consistency with Art Jury decisions and fire preparedness are the top three priorities for the Rancho Santa Fe Association board this year.

The board held a strategic planning session on Sept. 24, coming up with seven goals to focus on. Infrastructure updates, creating a community gathering place at the Ranch Clubhouse Restaurant, defining and promoting the Rancho Santa Fe brand and maximizing the Rancho Santa Fe Connect fiber optic network rounded out the list of priorities.

The board’s top goal to consider the optimal use of the Osuna Ranch will include the formation of a task force.

The Osuna became a talking point in this year’s board election as several candidates discussed maximizing the property’s use. One of re-elected Director Rick Sapp’s priorities was to study whether there is higher and better use of the Osuna while acknowledging its historic and housekeeping value.

In 2006, the RSF Association purchased the 28-acre property on Via De Santa Fe for $12 million with the goals to preserve the historic adobe, protect open space and prevent subdivision. A three-acre parcel was sold for $1.7 million in 2013, leaving 25 acres as one legal parcel. The purchase of the property has been debated many times over the years.

Currently, the ranch serves as an equestrian training facility operated by Hap Hansen Stables with horse boarding for Covenant and non-Covenant members. The Osuna Adobe was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017 as one of the oldest historic adobes in the state and over the last several years improvements have been made to the stables, landscaping and to enhance recreational use. The property has also played host to several community events including last year’s Fall Fest. The Osuna Committee has developed a master plan for the property which includes a community barn to hold events.

At the board’s Oct. 1 meeting, RSF Association Director Greg Gruzdowich said that investigating the potential sale of Osuna Ranch should be one of the possible steps the board considers—during his candidacy, he said the property could be used as a step-down development for seniors or others looking to downsize.

RSF Association President Mike Gallagher said every option is on the table and every alternative is going to be considered, with the goal of ensuring that the property benefits the majority of residents.

In considering the board’s priority around the Art Jury, board members also stated they would like to sharpen up the process for their regulations updates. The building commissioner has been working on updates to regulatory code chapters and this year the board passed updates regarding lot coverage, roofs, solar installations and the use of wood in new home builds and remodels. The updated regulation on exterior lighting is currently out for public review.

RSF Association Director Sharon Ruhnau said she would like to develop a better mechanism for public input before the updates are presented to the board.

RSF Association Manager Christy Whalen agreed that there should be an opportunity for public input earlier in the process of developing new or revised regulations, rather than “surprising” the community with a regulation that has been fully written.

Gallagher said that community input is an important part of what needs to be done and added that they also need to better establish the roles and responsibilities of the building department, the board and the Art Jury so all three groups understand what their authorities are.

“We don’t suffer from a lack of regulations. We suffer from not having a process,” Director Bill Strong agreed.

Strong said there will not be consistency at the Art Jury and an even application of the regulations until there is a clearer understanding of the Art Jury’s limits and responsibilities.


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