The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Op-Ed: Let's Not Compromise Our Historic Roots

There have been discussions of "step-down housing" in the Covenant for 40-plus years. There is a time and place for everything. In Rancho Santa Fe, the time is now, and the place is in the center of our community.

Beginning in 1998, the County of San Diego spent 13 years developing a General Plan, which was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2011. The 2020 General Plan was a comprehensive update of the General Plan for all the unincorporated areas of San Diego County. There was nothing in the 2020 General Plan or the subsequent "cleanup" adopted in 2014 that even hinted at changing the allowable density in any area on the Covenant perimeter.

In the early to mid-2000's, the previous owners of the property on the north-east corner of Calzada del Bosque and Via de la Valle proposed a high-density "step-down housing project" that was defeated. Today, we face essentially the same request by the current owners of the same parcel.

On April 20, 2006, the Association's Planning Committee recommended to the Board that it adopt a policy to support senior housing within a 15-20 minute walking distance of the village. The proposed area of inclusion was set as a circle, with the center at the intersection of La Granada and Paseo Delicias, and the radius reaching to the intersection of Via de la Valle and Via de Santa Fe.

Because the Calzada site did not fall within that circle, the Committee did not support senior housing at that location. The Board voted to recommend against supporting the continued application process of the project based on the Planning Committee's recommendation and density, traffic and neighbors' concerns. 

In May, 2015 the RSFA Board submitted a letter to the County requesting that the County adhere to and enforce the current density set forth in the 2020 General Plan. Our neighbors at Whispering Palms and Fairbanks also submitted letters opposing an increase in density proximate to their communities. 

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is currently proposing to develop about 40 homes on part of its property, most of which will be for sale. Most of the units are targeted to the "step-down" or "empty nester" marketplace. Unlike the proposed Calzada project, the Inn does not require a General Plan Amendment. 

Allowing the currently proposed Calzada project would increase the existing allowable density by many multiples. It would also pave the way for many adjacent and surrounding property owners to request General Plan Amendments.

Let's not allow any General Plan Amendments. To do so would irreparably destroy our historic community and our rural lifestyle.