Rancho Santa Fe Association’s CDRC changes a success so far


By Karen Billing

Changes to the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Covenant Design Review Committee process have already seen positive results and more improvements are on the way.

Building Commissioner Robert Green told the RSF Association board at its Sept. 4 meeting that since they have opened up CDRC meetings to the public, they had more than 10 people for one item at their last meeting.

The new process of having the applicant in the room during CDRC deliberations has also been well received.

“I’ve noticed in the two meetings we’ve had there’s been a real feeling of collaboration because the applicants can hear everything that’s said. It’s helpful in their understanding (of the issues),” Green said. “This is not to say that the process before didn’t have desirable results.”

Director Philip Wilkinson was complimentary of the increased collaboration of the process.

“We want it to be inviting,” Wilkinson said. “We want to find a way to say yes.”

The CDRC will also soon be implementing a new methodology to track projects through the review system from submittal to final decision.

“This system is part of an ongoing effort to improve service to members,” Green said.

The new system will track the time for staff analysis and CDRC review, and track the time that the application is back with the applicant for revision.

Green said many jurisdictions track this kind of information to provide an accurate picture of the total processing time. He noted that the Association already does provide a unique service in that upon submission of a project, a hearing date is guaranteed.

“No other jurisdiction does this to our knowledge,” Green said. “The hearing date is always either 10 days or 21 days from the date of submission of a project.”

Steps and times differ for different types of projects, which can be from an entire house to a swimming pool. The new tracking system will allow staff to assess whether a project has cycled through the CDRC application phases more than is typical.

“The tracking gives an opportunity to see who’s been back and forth a lot and maybe we can step in and help them,” said RSF Association President Ann Boon.

Acting Manager Ivan Holler said in the event that if an applicant has cycled through more than three times a meeting can be scheduled to sit down and assist the applicant with how to respond to revisions requested by the CDRC.

“It wastes everybody’s time to go through this process several times,” Holler said, noting that the CDRC already does make the effort to step in if there are multiple cycles but the tracking process will make it easier to identify when it’s occurring.

Green said that they have only had one or two projects that have cycled through more than three times.