Sale of Ranch property will go to a vote

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Association board approved a special election April 2 concerning the sale of the Dacus property. All ballots are to be returned by May 11 at 5 p.m. and Bruce Bishop will be Inspector of Election for the special election. The decision came after a lengthy discussion with concerned members of the Association and community leaders.
The meeting began with Association Manager Pete Smith giving a brief background of the Dacus property, which was purchased by the Association in 1997 under the provisions of the Open Space Plan. In October 2000, the Association discussed selling the property to the school but it wasn’t until February 2008 that it became clear that the Dacus property would become a key component of the school’s plan for renovation. The school plans to use the Dacus property for its construction staging and, after the renovation, the site will be used to address their critical parking needs.
The fly in the ointment came when the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District needed the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol to vacate its premises on the property. The Association is working diligently with The Inn, the school and the Fire District to find a new home for the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol, but, as a backup, must reserve the option of housing it on the Dacus property. The school is willing to work with the Association to accommodate the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol, but it’s understood by all to be a last resort.
Residents on Mimosa Street have filed a petition opposing the sale of the Dacus property to the school. “Let me make this clear, we have no opposition to the sale of the property to the school,” Rich Marr said. “We’re not against the Patrol. The issue is one very simple matter. It deals with the commercial ingress and egress restrictions. All we want is to preserve Mimosa as a residential street.”
The ingress and egress restrictions, however, became the deal breaker for everyone involved. “Dacus is vital to the school,” Superintendent Lindy Delaney said. “But we will not purchase with deed restrictions.” According to Delaney, if deed restrictions were placed on the property, the school would proceed via eminent domain. Legal fees would be costly to the school board and the Association and also consume precious time.
Many Association residents who live on Mimosa Street said they hoped that the matter could be resolved without incurring the expense of a special election, which will cost Association members approximately $8,000. Several people who had signed the petition asked to have their names withdrawn, saying they thought the petition centered on landscaping concerns, not ingress and egress.
“All the people concerned, residents as well, ought to sit down and talk,” Jack Queen, a candidate for director of the Association board, said. But with the signed petition filed and verified with 103 voting members, the board had little choice but to move forward with the special election.
“This is a complex issue,” Director Bill Beckman said. “But I am very confident we’ll find a home for the patrol elsewhere.”
“We’re working hard to find the patrol a home,” Director Deb Plummer said. “But we can’t remove our only option.”
The board approved the special election unanimously. The next Association meeting is scheduled for April 16.


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