The Rancho Santa Fe Post

What's Next for The Village Revitalization Task Force?

In response to a loss of “community” in the Village, the RSF Association Board assembled the Village Revitalization Task Force in August to begin studying how planning and design innovations can reinvigorate life in the Village.

LaDonna Monsees, Chair of the Village Revitalization Task Force, said the goal of the task force is “not only to come up with recommendations but then assist the board in implementing those recommendations.”

The committee has no exact timeframe, but is committed to expediting the review of each area of concern and working with the HOA Board to accomplish these objectives, Monsees explained.

Immediate concerns of the task force include parking and traffic, increasing retail businesses, and improving community activity in the Village.

“The goal is to increase the Village’s total supply and predictable availability of short term parking," Monsees said. "Merchants in the Village have long identified that one of the major factors in not being able to attract retail tenants is the lack of short term parking. Customers are not going to shop if they have to circle the block three or four times to find a parking space.”

Another immediate priority identified by the task force is the lack of retail shops compared to the amount of commercial offices. Monsees said “the committee will be exploring options to increase the neighborhood-serving retail shopping and decrease the non-neighborhood-serving commercial/office space.”

Village Vibrancy or VIBE, a subcommittee of the Village Revitalization Task Force, has been charged with promoting and enhancing community engagements, the task force’s third immediate priority.

The Oktoberfest celebration, held at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe last weekend, was just the first part of VIBE’s plan to revamp activity in the Village.

Stacey Pennington, an urban planner who worked on redevelopment in downtown San Diego, stated in an interview for the RSF Post that “in a nutshell” the “Village VIBE’s focus is to energize the RSF Village in a way that will help shape and inform its future.”

With all the various development proposals there is an outcry from the community regarding the need to address these problems, Pennington explained.

“Part of what evolved out of this conversation was the Village VIBE,” Pennington continued. “So many businesses shut down on weekends and there’s not many reasons to be at the Village- the VIBE was created to add a level of activation and energy in a family-friendly, all-inclusive way.”

The VIBE’s first bi-weekly pop-up event, or Village gathering, was held on September 26. They also co-sponsored the Oktoberfest celebration with the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. Pennington explained the Village gatherings will be held every other Saturday throughout the fall, and hopefully beyond.

VIBE will continue to partner with the Inn for the Halloween and Holiday celebrations on October 29 and December 5. There will be pumpkin carving on the Village green lawn, trick-or-treating throughout the Village, and the Inn will host its Haunted House. For the Holiday celebration in December, there will be a Holiday market with artisan wares and gifts “in a pop-up fashion,” Pennington said.

To keep up with future VIBE events, individuals can visit the Vibrancy Committee on Facebook.

Future, long-term development plans for the Village Revitalization Task Force include collaborating with key parcel owners on desired development plans, Monsees said.

“Initially, this would be both the Stumps/Post Office site and the gas station site as they have both submitted conceptual plans to the CDRC,” Monsees continued.“We are very optimistic that we can work with them to develop new plans that will enhance, benefit, and excite our community about upcoming changes.”

Monsees explained these development issues have been discussed by the community for years, but with limited action.

“The current Board of the HOA has expressed a strong desire to find answers and find resolution to these issues,” she said.

As the Village Revitalization Task Force and the Village Vibrancy Committee progress, they will be asking the community for input. “There are no quick or easy solutions but we very much hope to find support from the community in finding solutions to these issues,” Monsees concluded.