Rancho Santa Fe Finance Committee reviews $350,000 pool and fitness cost study


By Karen Billing

The Rancho Santa Fe Association Finance Committee heard an update on the community pool and fitness center effort at its Aug. 27 meeting in preparation for an October community-wide vote to spend $350,000 on a professional planning phase.

Should residents approve the planning phase, the RSF Association Pool and Fitness Committee would return to the community for a vote on the solid cost numbers and design plan.

Pool and fitness committee member Mike Licosati said companies usually spend about 5 percent of their budgets on research and development — the $350,000 would represent 2 percent of the association’s budget.

Funds have been expended in the past to study issues such as roundabouts, incorporation and utility undergrounding without community votes; and as finance committee chair Kim Eggleston noted, it’s well within the association board’s purview to spend money on planning.

“A vote could be a risk,” Eggleston said. “‘No’ is really easy to say, especially when money is attached.”

Licosati said the committee wants to take it to a vote because members believe they should add another layer of transparency.

Heather Slosar, board director and chair of the pool and fitness committee, gave a brief update on the work they have completed so far and the tentative numbers and plans they are looking at.

To build the fitness and pool center has been estimated at from $11.8 million to $15.5 million. The proposed location is between the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club players’ clubhouse and the RSF Tennis Club clubhouse, and preliminary plans include an adult pool, family pool, splash pad and spa, plus a 15,000-square-foot fitness center. By comparison, the player’s clubhouse is 13,500 square feet.

Rather than a big up-front initiation fee, Slosar said there would be a $1,500 processing fee, plus $190 monthly membership dues. They anticipate selling 650 memberships in the pre-opening months, about 30 percent of the community.

Greg Gruzdowich, a finance committee member, wondered whether those were enough data points to go out for a vote on the project without spending the $350,000.

Slosar said they would rather have the design drawings and real costs for the community to vote on the project. Finance committee member Ken Bien agreed that it is a prudent approach.

Slosar said they would seek the advice of the finance committee on where the $350,000 should come from — most likely from unrestricted reserves.