RANCHO SANTA FE — The Association board took a field trip to the Osuna Adobe during its June 7 meeting to determine whether the amount of deterioration to the structure would warrant money to stop it immediately.
The subject sparked a lively discussion among board members, but in the end, the majority approved the money that would come from Open Space funds.
Ron McMahon, president of the Osuna Committee, had appealed to the Association to approve $23,595 for wall surfacing renewal and $31,000 for construction documents for a total of $55,000.
McMahon said the concrete stucco on the adobe is in very poor condition, allowing the intrusion of water and further deterioration of the original adobe walls, which in some areas is visible.
He said that concrete stucco traps moisture, which hastens deterioration.
The money will pay for the removal of the concrete stucco from the exterior and replacement with an adobe surfacing whitewash.
The completion of the construction documents will allow the Association to obtain accurate bids, which will allow the restoration to be reviewed by the Art Jury and approved by the country building division. With all this done, the restoration can proceed when funds become available, he said.
“Having the construction documents completed at the time that restoration funds become available will serve to expedite the project’s completion,” said Kirk Dakan, senior planner in a report to the Association.
During the discussion, Director Eamon Callahan said the restoration process should continue. “If it were your house, would you want to wait five more years?” he asked. “I think it needs to be done now.”
On the other hand, Director Ann Boon disagreed saying the project should be put on hold until the funds become available.
“Nothing will be lost by waiting,” Boon said.
Director Anne Feighner, who said she comes from a long line of historians, said she is in favor of restoring the adobe, but is uncomfortable spending funds before the money is available. She said she would like to see more participation from the community.
Community member Sam Rossini asked the Association not to do anything until the house on the Osuna property is sold.
“I appeal to the Association for fiscal restraint,” Rossini said.
He said he believes the project has been funded in a “piecemeal fashion,”and urged the board to wait until the money is in the bank for the completion of the project.
Director Dick Doughty said there has always been a plan in place for the restoration of the adobe, despite it looking piecemeal.
“It has been a case of the county wanting one more thing,” he said. “There is a reason for all these rhymes.”
The 28-acre Osuna Ranch was purchased by the Association in June 2006 for $12 million with open space funds. The intent is to use it for historical education, and as a meeting place for members and an equestrian center.
During the June 7 field trip, McMahon told the Association that the committee and community had established the period of historical significance as the 1800s and that the adobe should be restored to how it was during that era. It was built in about 1831. In 1860, a living room and sleeping porch were added to the original two rooms.
In 1924, Lilan Rice added a bathroom and fireplace and a partially enclosed courtyard on the north side.
“The kitchen was added in the 1960s so it has no historical value,” McMahon said.
The master plan for the adobe is to remove the bathroom and kitchen, but to keep the fireplace, he said.