New RSF Association policy provides ‘roadmap’ for major capital projects

The Rancho Santa Fe Association offices.
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe Association set a new policy for major capital projects at its June 14 meeting, meant to provide a structure for approval and financial oversight of potential future efforts in the community.

The process would be triggered with undertakings like a significant renovation of existing facilities, construction of new facilities, acquisitions of land or facilities, or any project with a total cost of $500,000 or more.

“We’ve done a lot of these steps along the way…but this is more formalizing the sequencing,” said RSF Association Chief Financial Officer Seth Goldman.

The policy breaks projects down into phases, from the concept and site phase, through design and financing and project construction. It also sets a plan for who is involved and informed along the way—several steps include approval by the RSF Association’s finance committee and board. In decision-making, the board can also choose to take an advisory vote of the members.

The new policy was approved 6-1 with Director Dan Comstock opposed.

Comstock was concerned that the procedures might be too rigid and make it harder for the RSF Association to take on big projects, “ I just don’t want this to become a policy that basically hinders any big project from getting forward because it’s so bureaucratic,” he said.

Director Rick Sapp said it’s not meant to be a deterrent but more of a “roadmap” of steps for future boards to follow, one that might have saved time if it had been in place during one of the board’s last major projects, the RSF Connect fiber-optic network. Director Lorraine Kent also appreciated that the phases were clearly articulated so that the board and staff would not have to second guess what comes next or have to go back and forth.

Sapp said that the policy also allows the community to participate as the project goes down the line.