Rancho Santa Fe Association fines gas station, suspends membership privileges
By Karen Billing
The Rancho Santa Fe Association has assessed a $575 Covenant violation fine on the gas station at the entrance to the village as well as suspended its membership privileges for 30 days.
At the RSF Association board’s May 2 meeting, the board found that the station continues to be in violation of the regulatory code that states that no vehicles shall be stored when in view from the street or other residences. In past months, the Association staff reported that a jet ski, boat, trailer and RV (recreational vehicle) have all been stored for long periods of times in the lot behind the station at the entrance to the village.
Typically such hearings are held in closed executive session but gas station representative Mark Rababy requested it be held in open session. Rababy was not present at Thursday’s hearing, however.
Rababy said he was notified that the hearing would begin at 11 a.m. and said he showed up Thursday at that time and was told he had missed the hearing. The RSF Association maintains that he was notified of the correct date and time via certified mail and there was no time certain on the May 2 agenda.
“I believe that we have been incorrectly assessed,” Rababy said. “I don’t believe that the regulations affect our business…We plan to fight it. I believe we were improperly notified and I want the chance for my voice to be heard.”
Rababy disagrees with the Association’s definition of “storage” and said that the vehicles that are parked in the lot are in the process of being repaired, which is part of his station’s business.
The RSF Association’s position is that it seems as though the vehicles stay “beyond the scope of a repair.”
Rababy last appeared before the board for a hearing in September for the same violations. No enforcement action was taken and Rababy agreed to remove visual clutter when possible and to develop a landscaping plan to better screen the property.
RSF Association board member Rochelle Putnam said Rababy told the Association he would provide a landscaping plan which the board said they have not received. Since then the Association has taken measures to screen where they can within the county right-of-way.
RSF Association Assistant Manager Ivan Holler said the Association staff has been monitoring the situation since January. Throughout March they documented the extended presence of the equipment trailer, jet ski and boat.
“The boat and jet ski were delivered to the station without authorization,” Rababy explained.
Rababy said that they contacted the customers to tell them that the cost of repairs was more than the value of the vehicles and that they needed to pay for them to be towed off site. It took several weeks to get them off their property but they were eventually removed.
Rababy said at the time the Association sent them a letter about the vehicles they were already in the process of trying to remove them.
“We had 30 days to remove them and we removed them. The whole issue should’ve been dropped,” Rababy said.
Holler said in early April an RV returned that they last saw in January and in mid-April there was a horse trailer present. The site was substantially cleared on April 15 before a scheduled April 18 meeting that was rescheduled to last week. However, then a motor home was later observed to stay several days.
The site appeared to be cleared over the weekend of May 4-5.