The Rancho Santa Fe Association and its members listened to several presentations at the September 3 board meeting. The presentations highlighted the progression of several, often contentious, issues facing the community, including: revitalization of the village, the debate on intersections, fiber-optic Internet, and the Hamerslag subdivision.
Village Task Force: Bringing the Community Together
The newly named Village Revitalization Task Force convened recently to address its long-term goal of reinvigorating community engagement in the village. Stacy Pennington, a member of the committee and chair of Village VIBE subcommittee, presented the task force’s strategy.
“One of the best ways to gather community engagement is through the activation of the village,” said Pennington. “We are organizing a series of gatherings to bring the community together for fun, inclusive events in order to collect input on the future of the village while also creating a forum to re-engage with our actual village.”
In addition to a host of seasonal events like Oktoberfest and a Haunted House at the Rancho Santa Fe Inn during Halloween, the task force plans to host a series of bi-weekly ‘pop-up’ events starting September 26.
Roundabouts v. Signals: Sending a Survey to the Community
Shortly after Pennington’s presentation, Association Manager Bill Overton reviewed plans for a survey that would be mailed to property owners following a September 16 community meeting. The mailing will include:
- A summary sheet in support of roundabouts produced by the pro-roundabouts group;
- A summary sheet in support of traffic lights produced by the pro-signals group;
- A survey ballot card with secure envelope; and
- A return mailing envelope with unique ID number.
Board Director Mike Licosati clarified that the survey did not constitute a binding ‘vote’ of the membership since the Association doesn’t exercise legal authority over traffic infrastructure. The County of San Diego holds ultimate authority on the issue.
“Our governing documents only allow for a vote on certain prescribed issues,” said Licosati. “This is not one of those prescribed actions on which a vote is mandated under our governing documents.”
He later added, “Since we don’t control the roads... a vote here would, I think, give a false impression to our members that we have more control over this decision than we really do.”
Survey materials were provided to those in attendance. However, it became evident that the Association would need to reevaluate the implementation of a disclaimer, which stated neither the RSFA nor the County of San Diego endorse studies cited by the groups in favor of roundabouts and signals, in their respective support materials.
Fiber-Optic Internet: One Step Closer to a Gigabyte Community
John Honker, President of Magellan Advisors, gave an in-depth presentation of the various development models the Association might use to make high-speed fiber-optic Internet a reality in Rancho Santa Fe. Major Internet providers have not been incentivized to update the RSF communications infrastructure due to the community’s low density and costly rural topography.
Mr. Honker’s presentation highlighted four options for updating the infrastructure, along with their advantages and disadvantages. These options included two prior proposals presented to the Board by AT&T and Orion Communications. The third option was to seek an independent service provider that would build and retain ownership of a fiber-optic network for the community. The final option presented to the Board was to seek a public-private partnership with a qualified developer to build the network, with the Association retaining some level of control and ownership over the network.
“The [public-private] partnership model creates the greatest value to the community because it does give you some buy-in and some stake in the network that the provider is bringing to the table, depending on how much you decide to invest,” said Honker.
Board Director Philip Wilkinson, who has taken a lead role on the Fiber Committee, emphasized the importance of the Association maintaining the ability to control the network. He moved to approve procurement documents prepared by Magellan Advisors, including a ‘Request for Qualifications and Proposals’ (RFQP). Director Fred Wasserman seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously 6-0 (Treasurer Kim Eggleston was not present).
Now that the RFQP is approved, it will be distributed publicly for solicitation of proposals from potential developers.
The Subdivision of the Hamerslag Property at Via de Fortuna
Association staff, Larry Roberts, gave the final presentation of the meeting. The presentation concerned a resolution to subdivide the Hamerslag’s property, currently located at 17445 Via de Fortuna. The subdivision was initially proposed and approved in 1999, but needed to be reintroduced for approval.
The board voted unanimously 6-0 to approve the subdivision, which splits the property into two new parcels: the first parcel would be 2.5 acres and the second 4.4 acres.
Former Association Manager Makes Appearance
The Rancho Santa Fe Board was served with a lawsuit earlier this week by Golden Eagle Land Investments LP and the Trustees of the Mabee property. The complaint alleges that, after the group made an informal presentation to the Board in May 2014, some Board members assured them that the Association would support a rezoning of the property for the high-density project.
In February of this year, the Board voted unanimously to send a letter to the County of San Diego to notify the County that the Association has not taken an official position on the project. The trustees have demanded $1.6 million in damages from the Association and its members for what they allege to be a reasonable reliance on the 2014 assurances in light of the recent letter sent by the Board.
This could explain the presence of former Manager Pete Smith at the Board meeting on Thursday. Mr. Smith is a consultant for the developers of the Mabee property.