Covenant Design Review Committee meetings in Rancho Santa Fe will now be open to all Covenant members


By Karen Billing

After receiving various suggestions from architects, builders and the real estate community, the Covenant Design Review Committee (previously named Art Jury) has opted to make some changes to the way it does business, hoping for a more open, faster process.

“The CDRC has implemented some procedural changes which should help the process be more user-friendly for everyone, while still maintaining the goal of assisting applicants in achieving a ‘high artistic result’ as required by the Covenant,” said Robert Green, building commissioner.

RSF Association President Ann Boon said she was grateful for the committee’s willingness to take another look at its process, and RSF Association Director Heather Slosar complimented the more streamlined and transparent CDRC.

The first process change relates to deliberations: Previously, deliberations occurred without the applicant in the room. Now applicants and consultants will allowed to be present during the committee’s discussion and recommendations on the project.

“Applicants were not present during a portion of the CDRC’s deliberations, which sometimes led to confusion on the part of the applicants and their consultants,” Green said.

Also, the meetings will be open to all Covenant members, not just the parties involved.

In an effort to reduce the number of times a project must return to the CDRC for review, the final application step will now be performed administratively instead of at a scheduled meeting.

“It should shorten the time by several days and result in cost savings for applicants,” Green said.

Applicants will also not be required to go through the fire department review and approval process until the preliminary application step.

“We’re at a point in time where most of the architects and designers know what the rules are, and there’s no need to filter projects as we have before,” Green said.

Green said the fire department review typically added two to three weeks to the process, causing a major problem for applicants and the RSF Association. Allowing people to get through quicker will assist new buyers with short escrow periods.

“We’re also looking at seven or eight additional changes that will all result in cost savings, a shorter review process and hopefully make the process easier,” Green said. “It is the CDRC’s hope that these changes will benefit the entire community and make the Covenant an even more desirable place to live.”