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Update on the RSF Association board’s annual retreat

Ann Boon
Ann Boon

By Ann Boon, President,

Rancho Santa Fe Association Board

On Sept. 11, the RSF Association board held its annual “retreat.” This was a full day and evening of thought-provoking discussions. In agenda order, here are the topics:

• Osuna Ranch:

The board agreed that it should explore the property’s potential market value, assuming that the adobe could be carved out and protected. We asked Acting Manager Ivan Holler and Director Jerry Yahr to work on getting estimates from appraisers or real estate brokers on the value of the property “as is.” The board consensus was that we might not want to be in the development business, but that we may have to spend some money to get the property in a more attractive state for purchasers. While studying this, we will be communicating with the boarders at Osuna Ranch so that they understand our intentions and the timeline.  This will be a long-term process.

• Water – Reclaimed:

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Mike Bardin, general manager of the Santa Fe Irrigation District, spent a couple of hours speaking with us.  We could have spent an entire day discussing water in RSF, the county, the state and the western region.  It is clear that there are no inexpensive or immediate solutions for Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club. SFID has applied for federal grants that would be used toward developing the infrastructure to deliver reclaimed water, i.e., the “purple pipe.” Once the outcome of those grant applications is known, we will sit down with Mike Bardin again and review the options for our community. In the meantime, RSF Golf Club is doing the best thing it can do for itself by removing some areas of turf. Mike Bardin also said that the chief hydrogeologist in the U.S. has stated that groundwater in San Diego is not viable. This was our lead-in to the report from the RSF Golf Club on wells and the reverse-osmosis plan it has been studying.

• Water – Wells and Reverse Osmosis:

George Scott, member of the RSF Golf Club Board of Governors, reported that brine disposal is still the critical issue with designing the RO system. RSF Golf Club has been considering a smaller project that would involve putting salt-tolerant grass on the driving range and installing a smaller RO system. They have not done the reverse engineering yet to get a cost estimate for that. George and Ivan Holler intend to meet with local agencies regarding the brine disposal problem.

Although the economics and viability of both RO and purple pipe are bleak, the general future of water, in terms of both availability and cost, is also bleak. We will continue to work with the RSF Golf Club in the search for alternatives.

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• Health Club presentation:

Director Heather Slosar and her team gave the board a dress rehearsal of the presentation that they are preparing for community open forums.  Audience and board members had good questions and comments. Questions of scale, cost and funding are naturally the most predominant concerns. Heather said members’ comments would be used to refine the presentation and the team’s approach to the project.  The board approved a schedule for the planned vote to determine whether or not the community is in favor of spending funds to do the engineering studies for the proposed health club/pool project. We will discuss this proposed vote and ballot language on Oct. 2.

• Golf Club Discussion:

For the past year, the RSF Golf Club has been running deficits in the food and beverage area that are larger than the club restaurant has run historically.  In addition, members of the club’s Board of Governors have come to the RSF Association board on numerous occasions to discuss the problem of declining membership, asking us to work with them to find solutions. The issues of restaurant operations and declining membership are complicated ones and will require more discussion between both boards in the weeks and months ahead.

• Tennis Club Discussion:

The RSF Tennis Club has a new and highly energized board. They are looking at ways to bring back members who have left and to attract new members. They are considering many new ideas and activities, including adding pickle ball courts.

• Broadband:

Our evening roundtable was interesting and productive. Experts from Qualcomm, ATT, Cox, and Time Warner, as well as our own knowledgeable board members, contributed to the discussion. We explored both immediate and long-term solutions. We learned that the emerging small-cell technology holds great promise for the future. At the end of the evening, we had consensus on two things: 1) Broadband/cell is our No. 1 priority as a board; and 2) we must pursue a two-pronged approach immediately. This means that we must improve cell coverage by adding to our system and perhaps amending our county-approved master plan by adding infrastructure. At the same time, we have requested proposals from all Wi-Fi carriers to enhance internet capability throughout the Covenant. We expect these proposals soon. Stay tuned for news on that front.

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• Priorities:

By the end of the day, there was clear consensus that our No. 1 priority is improving our Internet and cell service infrastructure.  In our Oct. 2 meeting, we intend to further rank the other projects we are working on as we develop our strategic plan for the Covenant of Rancho Santa Fe.  As always, I welcome your questions and comments at ann.boon@me.com.


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