Rancho Santa Fe stories to watch in 2013

By Karen Billing

Here are several RSF stories on our radar for 2013.

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

Work to upgrade The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, while still maintaining its historical integrity and charm, has been ongoing since September. New owner JMI Realty expects that the major guts of the construction work on the $12 million renovation project will begin at The Inn in January or February.

“We are most looking forward to revitalizing the historic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in a comfortable, sophisticated, fashion and developing an outstanding culinary program at the center of our community,” said Gordon MacMitchell, general manager.

The big renovation work includes work on the lawn, The Inn’s lobby entrance and new 3,000 spa, as well as refreshed guest rooms and a re-imagined restaurant with Chef Todd Allison at the helm.

The Inn’s layout of separate buildings means that it won’t have to close for multiple months for its renovation and plans are to have it complete by summer 2013.

“The Inn will remain open throughout the process, and we invite you to visit us and watch as the transformation comes to life,” MacMitchell said.

The Village

By spring, it’s expected that the new commercial center, Plaza de Acacias, will be complete. It will be the first new commercial/retail structure built in the village in several years, but it has been designed to look like it’s always been there, in the Lilian Rice style.

The Rancho Santa Fe Association has been giving the village a lot of consideration at the committee-level, working on ways to improve business for the village merchants and to better market the community as a whole.

One of the ideas to come out of the committees is a Farmers Market, which could come to El Tordo, between Avenida de Acacias and La Granada, on Saturday afternoons. It is the hope the market could bring some weekend activity to the village merchants in addition to being a fun gathering place with fresh produce and flowers for sale.

The Association still has to approve of the market before it becomes a reality and some neighbors have expressed concerns about parking and the necessity. Look for it to be an item on an early 2013 RSF Association board agenda.

Round and round we go: Roundabouts

Plans for roundabouts on Paseo Delicias/ Del Dios Highway have been spinning around Rancho Santa Fe for more than 10 years. A draft environmental impact report was last circulated in 2008 and the county this month released a revised document on the three proposed roundabouts that includes minor design changes and a lighting study, as well as addressing the county’s new guidelines on greenhouse gases.

The three roundabouts would be located at the intersections of Via de la Valle, El Montevideo and El Camino Del Norte.

Of the three, Via de la Valle would have the most local impacts. It would result in a realignment of Las Colinas, a cul-de-sac would be created on La Fremontia (currently a loop street) and the Village Church would lose a significant portion of its parking lot.

El Montevideo would be the only four-way roundabout while the other two would be three-way.

The DEIR (draft environmental impact report) will be open for review and public comment until Feb. 28.

The DEIR is available in hard copy form at the Rancho Santa Fe Library and online at Comments can be submitted by email to or by mail to Gail Jurgella, 5510 Overland Avenue, Suite 410, Mail Stop O-385, San Diego, 92123.

San Dieguito Union High School District

It took some time for the district’s Prop AA bond on November’s ballot to finally get the required 55 percent of the vote to pass but pass it did. According to Eric Dill, SDUHSD’s associate superintendent of business services, the district plans to draw $150 million of the bond monies in the spring of 2013 and kick off several local projects.

“Because of the design and approval work that needs to happen first, the most significant projects will not get off the ground until 2014 or later but we do have some projects that will start earlier,” Dill said.

Some of the highlights for next year’s work include the installation of artificial turf and rubberized track at Canyon Crest Academy, and Torrey Pines High will get new stadium lighting, fire road improvements and a water main replacement after the main broke earlier in 2012. The district will also begin the design process and approvals for improvements and additions at CCA, TPHS, Carmel Valley Middle School and Earl Warren Middle School, as well as the new Pacific Highlands Ranch Middle School.

In 2013, Dill said they plan to purchase the new middle school site in PHR, next to Canyon Crest. They aim to start construction on the middle school in 2015.

Kelsey Kafka

The Torrey Pines High School and North Coast Aquatics swimmer had an eventful 2011, when she became the Division 1 section champion in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke and helped the team win a section title.

She skipped her junior year season in 2012 to focus on the Olympic Trials, which she took part in over the summer in Omaha.

Already committed to swim for USC on a partial scholarship in the fall, Kelsey is now taking aim at helping TPHS to a fourth straight section title in the spring of 2013, defending her individual championships and chasing down a 100-yard breaststroke record that has been on the books for years.

“My goals are to break the CIF record in the 100 breast (1:01.77), go a 2:12 in the 200 breast, and help the Torrey Pines girls win the CIF championship,” Kelsey said.

“She’s been working really hard in the last six months, she’s a lot more focused about her goals,” said Jeff Pease, her coach at North Coast.

Pease said Kelsey has built up “quite a repertoire” of races, such as the 400 individual medley. He said that her butterfly stroke has really improved in the last year and her only weakness is backstroke, which she continues to work on.

“I’m very pleased with her focus because a lot of seniors get ‘seniorities’ once they’ve signed with a school but I don’t see that with Kelsey,” Pease said.

He said he feels Kelsey is capable of another strong showing in the 2013 section, her final year racing as a Falcon.

The new and improved at Flower Hill Promenade and Del Mar Highlands

Carmel Valley-area retail centers have undergone major facelifts and the new amenities keep on coming. Already people can enjoy the smell of cupcakes wafting out of the new Towne Bakery at Del Mar Highlands Town Center or grab a massive burrito lunch at Flower Hill Promenade’s new Chipotle or get the little one’s hair snipped at Pigtails & Crewcuts, but more changes lie ahead.

Some were sad to see longtime spots like Chevy’s and Red Robin depart, but the center owners hope that their replacements will be well received.

In Red Robin’s place at Del Mar Highlands, a new Mexican eatery called Casa Sol y Mar is coming in spring of 2013. The restaurant will come courtesy of the Bazaar Del Mundo Restaurant Group, which owns Casa Guadalajara in Old Town and Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad.

The new Whole Foods at Flower Hill is expected to open in January. And after Chevy’s closed, plans were announced to replace the restaurant with Cucina Enoteca, a concept from San Diego’s Cucina Urbana, featuring the same modern kitchen meets historic farmhouse concept with a wine shop.

Burger Lounge is also coming to Flower Hill. The restaurant, with other locations in Hillcrest, La Jolla and the Gaslamp, features premium grass fed burgers and a quality menu that appeals to “health conscious diners, vegetarians and salad lovers.”