Rancho Santa Fe Association board to review Gateway project

At its Aug. 9 meeting, the Covenant Design Review Committee (CDRC) forwarded on the Rancho Santa Fe Gateway project – a proposed new office building with a market – to the RSF Association board for discussion.

After the RSF Association board reviews the project on Aug. 19, LandRock Development hopes to return to the CDRC on Sept. 13 for a preliminary recommendation and then back to the RSF Association board for approval in October. It would take about six months to get through the county approval process before the developers could begin construction.

The project will require variances from the RSF Association as the project would increase the floor- area ratio allowed in the village zone, a regulation that limits building bulk.

The Aug. 9 workshop represented the fifth public meeting on the proposed development. Story poles have been up for the past few weeks to allow residents to gauge how the buildings will fit into the current gas station site.

“We are familiar with the issues that the Ranch has gone through and is going through, and we’re hopeful that we’ve developed a project that is sensitive to those issues and meets the needs of the community,” said Fernando Landa, an attorney representing LandRock Development.

Landa’s father is the developer, Enrique Landa, and they have lived in the community for over 30 years.

Landa said he thinks the plan reflects what the community said they wanted: A 5,000-square-foot market, more village parking with a 138-space garage, and the creation of a more “deserving” entry to the village from the south than the existing back of the gas station, with a portion of the property preserved as green open space.

The developers hope to bring Stehly Farms Market in as the grocery tenant, a “beautiful” gourmet store that just opened a similar size location in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego.

As the bulk of the two-story project has been a concern, Landa said they have lowered the building height and broke it up into four buildings connected by a courtyard and walkways. The intent is for it to look more like residences than large-scale office buildings.

The CDRC board members complimented the LandRock team for being so responsive and incorporating their suggestions into the plan — “the building is substantially different than where it started,” CDRC member Bill Cardon said.

Project manager Jim Simmons said that they have completed a traffic study for Gateway that concluded that the traffic for the gas station and the new facility are “very similar” and there won’t be a significant impact.

The parking garage will be accessed off Via de Santa Fe and street parking will remain around the project on La Granada, La Flecha and Via de Santa Fe.

Neighbor Bruce Henderson said if what the traffic study says is true, that the traffic won’t be any different, the new building tenants will be out of business because the station doesn’t generate that much traffic.

Henderson expressed his concerns about parking, lighting, the massing of the buildings being so close to the curb and what will happen if the market fails. He worried that no one is going to park underground to go to the market.

“If the market fails, it will become all office space,” Henderson said. “I want this building to happen, I really want to have a market there, I think it would be fabulous. But how this thing is handled, the details, really are important…I think it’s a wonderful project, I love it, but I am worried about those aspects.”

About 40 people attended the meeting at the RSF Garden Club and encouraged developers to consider the significant impacts to those that live in the village. Landa said every attempt is being made to minimize impacts to the community, from construction through completion, to create a benefit for Rancho Santa Fe.

“We don’t think the market’s going to fail because the market that was in the village wanted to stay but it is no longer there. There’s a demand for a market,” Landa said. “If anything, the demand for the market has increased since the market’s been gone…I’m confident that the market will survive and thrive in this community as people support the market.”

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