The Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved the process for potentially amending its bylaws and articles of incorporation at its Oct. 1 meeting. According to Director Fred Wasserman, a six-member committee put in many hours looking at how to make the voting process more equitable to all homeowners.
A packet of proposed revisions will be sent to members in mid-October with a 45-day period for review and comment. Wasserman encouraged people to submit mailed and online comments and let the Association know whether the committee missed something or whether they think something won’t work.
“We’re just a committee of people that think some things need to be fixed, but there may be some issues that we don’t understand,” Wasserman said.
A town hall meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 for additional discussion.
After the review period closes, the board would vote on the final amendments at its Dec. 3 meeting before the changes go to a community-wide vote in 2016. Should any changes be approved, they would not go into effect until July 2016, which Wasserman said removes any suspicion that the committee is trying to skew any upcoming votes, such as the Covenant Club vote.
A 2005 governance committee made a similar proposal in terms of changes to the articles and bylaws that permit better voting inside the Covenant, Wasserman said. The changes were never submitted to the community for a vote.
The 2015 governing documents committee was composed of Wasserman as chair, John Blakely, Kris Charton, Allen Finkelson, Mike Licosati and Judge David Moon.
Their recommendation for revisions to the articles of incorporation ensures all property owners receive one Association membership with two votes. Owners of multiple properties will continue to be limited to two votes, regardless of the number of properties they own; and for the first time, condo owners would be given the right to vote.
Wasserman said he has never understood why condo owners do not have the right to vote, as they pay Association dues and some of the properties are worth more than $2 million.
“Why should condo owners be discriminated against?” he asked. “We can’t find any rationale for that. They should have the same privileges as others in the Covenant.”
RSF resident Marie Addario had questions about the makeup of the governing documents committee, that it was not opened up to other members and was “hand-picked” by the board, which she said is “highly unusual.”
“Anything that smacks of non-transparency does not bode well in this community,” Addario said.
RSF Association President Ann Boon said the committee was selected to include attorneys who have experience in these kinds of issues. She said it is within the board’s purview to have an open posting soliciting committee members, or to handpick members to serve.
“It was a monumental undertaking and we needed people with experience,” Wasserman said, noting that every effort has been made to make the process very open, with the long comment period and town hall meeting.
At the Oct. 1 meeting, not all the bylaws being proposed for changes were discussed, which prompted questions from residents in attendance.
RSF resident Anne McCarthy (née Feighner) wanted to know all the bylaws that would be changed, since members have not yet been allowed access to intended proposals, she said.
RSF Association Manager Bill Overton said the other bylaws are being changed to comply with the 2014 Davis-Stirling Act for all common interest developments in California, mostly technical issues. He said that all the bylaw changes would be included in the mailing, and that the Association is not trying to keep them a secret, as some members have suggested.
“This conspiracy theory is so absurd,” said RSF Association Director Kim Eggleston.
McCarthy and others in the audience took offense to the “conspiracy” comment, stating they were just seeking information they had not yet received.