The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Covenant Club Design Committee Votes for Integrated Campus Approach; Sees Opposition from Familiar Faces

The Covenant Club’s feasibility phase was approved by over 50% of Ranch residents in November last year. In response to the debate surrounding the proposed Covenant Club, a group of concerned community members formed the Rancho Santa Fe Homeowners Group (“RSFHG”) to follow the project.

The majority of RSFHG members are also members of PIC, a group of residents that has exerted influence over RSF elections for a number of years. The group became more well-known to the community in the 2014 election cycle when information about their organization became part of the contentious campaign. For the first time in several decades, PIC’s candidates lost that election.

The group’s stated objectives include keeping the design of the pool/fitness center in line with the ambience of the community, protecting the RSF Golf and Tennis Clubs from interference with their stated missions, and ensuring its membership will be able to financially sustain the project.

If plans for the Covenant Club do not align with the Homeowners Group’s stated objectives and the Rancho Santa Fe way of life, the group says that they intend to launch a campaign against the proposed Covenant Club altogether.

However, some residents and Association Board members question whether the group has not already made up its mind.

RSF Association Director and member of the Covenant Club Committee, Mike Licosati said in a statement that “[t]he RSF Homeowners Group’s primary goal is not to keep residents informed, but rather to defeat the Covenant Club.”

Licosati added, “for the RSFHG to try to stop the process that was duly and fairly voted on by our community is truly unfortunate.”

The Covenant Club Design Subcommittee is in the process of determining the financial and logistical feasibility of the fitness center.

After initially considering seven site plans, each with multiple sub-plans, the design subcommittee narrowed the field to two approaches.

At its October 13 meeting, members of the subcommittee voted between site plan A, an integrated campus approach, and site plan C, a development site separate from the Golf and Tennis Club Campus.

In a 7-2 vote with 2 abstentions, the design subcommittee will continue to develop site plan A, the integrated campus approach.

While designs are progressing with community input at every step, some members feel that neither the A nor C plans represent the best options for the Ranch.

Recently, both the Tennis and Golf Clubs administered surveys to some of their members in order to gauge their support of the project and preference over its placement.

Both Club’s surveys results opposed future development of a fitness center on their campus:

Out of 158 Tennis Club members surveyed, 53 percent voted against the construction of a fitness facility in general and sixty-one percent voted against placing a fitness center on the Golf/Tennis Club Campus.

Out of a total 441 Golf Club votes, 75 percent voted against placing the Covenant Club on the Golf/Tennis Campus. Only 50 percent of the Golf Club membership responded to the survey.

Licosati questioned the validity of the surveys, arguing they were prepared by golf and tennis members who are also on the RSFHG or have spouses on the group’s Steering Committee.

“It is patently clear there is a collaborative effort between the RSFHG and the Golf and Tennis Club boards to subvert the affirmative vote of the broad RSFA membership to move forward with the professional planning phase and design of the Covenant Club,” Licosati stated.

Debra Gustafson, president of the RSF Golf Club Board of Governors told the RSF Review that “[o]ur survey was based only on known facts of the current planned location, size and amenities of the proposed Covenant Club. There is nothing in our survey that is biased.”

The survey was administered in accordance with the Golf Club’s Board of Governors’ election process, Gustafson added.

In an effort to reassure Covenant members, Overton explained every aspect of this project - location, size, design, financing, and membership - will be voted on by community members.

In the meantime, design subcommittee architect, Kirk Mason, will continue to develop plans for site A, the 12,000 square-foot, integrated campus approach. Further plans will include more detailed sketches of tennis court and pool placement. Mason will present them at the next Covenant Club Design Subcommittee meeting at the RSF Golf Club on November 2 at 3 pm.

Members of the community will have plenty of opportunities for input before a community-wide vote in 2016. 

View the Covenant Club Design Sub-Committee's October Presentation HERE