At its May 5 meeting, the Rancho Santa Fe Association approved a pilot parking program at the First Church of Christ Scientist on La Flecha with the aim of encouraging business employees to park away from the center of the village and free up more space for visitors.
The program was last tried in 2006 and was not successful but RSF Association President Ann Boon said she hopes that this new effort will help with the lack of vitality in the village.
“It’s really a three-prong deal. It’s the Association’s commitment in terms of pursuing solutions and funding it where necessary, secondly is getting buy-in from the businesses… and third is really taking the hard actions and working with the county,” Boon said. “I don’t think all three of those things were done to the extent that they were 10 years ago.”
LaDonna Monsees, chair of the Village Revitalization Task Force, said her group has been working since the fall to solve the problem of the village’s loss of retail. A main driving factor of retailers’ struggles is due to a lack of parking, which led to the plan for more timed-parking spaces in the village.
The board approved 42 two-hour timed parking spaces last year and they are slated to go before the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for approval in June.
Tom Farrar, Association planning director, said an unintended consequence of establishing two-hour parking zones would be that business employees’ cars would be pushed out into the residential areas. The six-month lease with First Church of Christ Scientist’s for use of its 47-stall lot will provide a place for those workers to go.
The board was appreciative of the Village Revitalization Task Force’s efforts and hoped to see even more of its proposed solutions come to fruition.
In one of his last meetings, RSF Association Director Jerry Yahr encouraged that staff and the committee move ahead with solutions such as angled parking in the village as a good way to enhance the number of parking stalls.
Yahr also reminded the board that he was a supporter of the Association’s acquisition of the RSF Garden Club, one of those reasons being the building’s parking lot at the center of town. He wondered if there was a way to explore renting that lot as well.
Stacy Pennington, the Association’s consultant on the Village Vibrancy Committee, also gave an update on their work to help bring life back to the village. Pennington said many are familiar with their Vibe gatherings on the green but she said the committee has also held several meetings, including a January roundtable with business owners, and is conducting research and constantly engaging with stakeholders.
Some vocal residents have expressed a “distrust and dislike” toward their community engagement but Pennington said their goals remain to transition events from the green into the village, to participate in Fourth of July festivities and Rancho Days, and host Celebrate Osuna, an upcoming community event on Saturday, June 11 on the ranch with an authentic barbecue, and a variety of activities.
RSF resident Rory Kendall expressed his dislike of the Village Vibe’s efforts and questioned why the Vibe events were shut down for two weeks due to permit issues.
Pennington acknowledged that the RSF Association unknowingly did not have proper permits with the county for the Village Vibe events on the green.
“We discovered through creating activities on every other Saturday in the village that were welcoming to families and residents of all ages, that not only were they incredibly successful but that these parks at the heart of our village are not zoned for active use other than six times a year,” Pennington said. “No one within the entities we’ve been working with as we’ve been planning had that knowledge. Once that was discovered we delved into figuring out a permitting approach that would allow for events and activities that are welcoming to all residents of Rancho Santa Fe to continue in the village but to do so in a way that is appropriate and permitted. That’s what we’re working on now.”