Village Park upgrade in store

RANCHO SANTA FE — New Village Parks are soon to adorn the five-way intersection that meets motorists and pedestrians in front of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. After much consideration and public comments, the Association board of directors put the wheels in motion to begin final designs of the new parks, which will be installed in phases.
“This is one of our top priorities,” President Bill Beckman said. Members of the community were at the Association meeting Oct. 15 to lend their ideas and support. “We want this to be a public dialogue,” Beckman said. And it was.
After the public meeting regarding the Village Parks was held at the Garden Club on Sept. 22, Association staff received and reviewed comment cards.
“Over the course of several weeks, we received about 40 comments,” Covenant Administrator Ivan Holler said.
By a margin of 3-1, residents supported the upgrades to the parks.
Alternative No. 3, which was the most expensive and required the most changes to the parks, received the highest number of votes, but the Fire Department felt that Alternative No. 3 was the least preferred as it would be difficult for fire engines and delivery trucks to get around corners.
Staff put together a list of design recommendations for the park project taking into consideration the public’s and Fire Department’s comments.
Their list incorporated elements of Alternatives No. 2 and Alternative No. 4, including narrowing the parks at the five-way intersection as much as possible, while maintaining the minimum radius required accommodating turning movements for the fire department apparatus.
Additional benches and trees would be planted in both parks and two low walls in the northern park would be constructed.
In turn, the board of directors asked staff to come back with a cost analysis/benefit on each proposed change, which will then be implemented in phases. This will allow the parks to move forward with the items deemed most valuable, including the planting of new trees, making the parks more pedestrian-friendly and allowing for more flat areas in the parks.
“The parks are unfinished jewels,” Marion Dodson, one of many members of the public there to show support said. “They need to be polished. I ask the board to ‘think creatively.’”
Jim Simpson, a resident on El Tordo for the past 30 years, supported the park upgrades, but called Alternative No. 3 “irresponsible.”
“Don’t use El Tordo as a thorough-fare,” Simpson said. “It wasn’t designed for it.”
In the next several weeks, staff will return with a cost analysis/benefit proposal on how to move forward in phases, giving the public the biggest bang for its buck.
In other Association news, the Road and Traffic Committee and the Planning Committee merged. Both committees recommended this merger as it would be a more effective method of organization for the current workload and tasks at hand.
CFO Steve Comstock received permission to bring in an outside collection firm to help them track down delinquent assessment payments. The late payments are due to foreclosures in the Ranch. “We haven’t seen foreclosures like this in the past,” Comstock said. “We may see one or two year. We have six this year.” The board also approved the Audited Financial Statements for the 2008-09 year. Members will receive the audited financial statements in the mail in the upcoming weeks.
The next scheduled Association meeting will be Nov. 5.


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