The Rancho Santa Fe Post

CDRC Confidential: Politics & Harmony

What does voting for candidates for the RSFA Board of Directors have to do with the Covenant Design Review Committee (CDRC, formerly the Art Jury)? A lot. No matter how hard we try to find a sacred space protected from political blight, that utopia doesn't exist.

Loyal readers recall my first column “The Good, the Bad & the Tasteful,” which explained one important function of the Board of Directors: Each year the Directors nominate members for the President of the Board to appoint to our CDRC for a three-year term. (Par. 55 of the Protective Covenant (“PC”), RSFA’s CC &R’s.) The CDRC is fundamental to the enforcement of our PC. The PC is what protects a Member’s home in a residential district from having a commercial enterprise, “Guns & Beer R Us”, or a corrugated metal quonset hut built next door. (Par. 96 & 156-160, respectively.)

While our present CDRC members are well aware of the restrictions under the PC and the majority of our structures comply, some quite beautifully, a drive about our community reveals buildings from past eras when some Art Juries either failed to read or ignored the PC. Covenant Members protect their property by making certain they vote for Directors who will nominate CDRC candidates who understand their obligation to adhere to the PC, despite their personal tastes or business interests.

The CDRC frequently cites the mandate that a proposed building “harmonize with its surroundings.” (Par. 155.) A little harmony in our local politics might be nice, too. Not everyone having identical views, but compatible with the whole. Our community consists of custom houses which celebrate the individuality of owners who are fortunate enough to build here. These are not homogenous production houses evident in the many gated communities surrounding the Covenant like an assembly line of Stepford wives, but a truly authentic, artisan creation.

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For example, my home has a distinctive genoise roof detail (no it's neither sweet, nor edible) seen in the snapshots below. Reminiscent of Provence, it keeps rain from dripping directly off the roof onto the walls or people entering the building. By stuffing the staggered tiles with a genoise cream of cement, the roof detail keeps birds, rodents and insects from nesting under the tiles. But like many custom designs combining form with function, it’s expensive, particularly when it uses antique tiles like mine which have earned the soft rose color that comes with age. Although the style and color are unique, my roof blends with the whole because it is consistent with the PC “general requirements” for type of Architecture and Roofs (Par.157 & 160).

“In this hilly country, roofs will be much seen from above, and their form and color are important to the success and attractiveness of the property" (Par. 155). This passage from the PC shows our community’s concern that our exterior expressions impact others and our overall attractiveness. Words to remember whether in design or local politics. So, in May when Members pick candidates to put on the Board, I hope they choose candidates who understand, not just pay lip service, to the PC.

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The statements made in this column are the opinions of the author and not those of the Rancho Santa Fe Association Covenant Design Review Committee.