A well-attended public meeting held by the RSF Association’s Covenant Club Committee on September 18 gave Ranch residents a detailed glimpse of what a future exercise and pool facility, or ‘Covenant Club,’ might look like. The leading site plans are situated between the existing Tennis and Golf Club facilities, off of Via de la Cumbre.
Board director and chair of the Design subcommittee, Jerry Yahr, summed up the rationale behind the Covenant Club, saying,
“What we’re trying to do, really, is integrate the whole community.”
Ideally, he says, the Covenant Club would be the place where the whole community could socialize, exercise, and bring their families.
The presentation encompassed the entire planning process of the Covenant Club up to the present. The process started in 2013 following a community vote, which approved $350,000 for a feasibility study to examine where such a facility might be located and how it would operate. Yahr reported that approximately $82,000 has been spent thus far on nearly a dozen design plans, significant site research, and a team of experts from a variety of fields including traffic, soil, noise, and architecture.
Architect Kirk Mason was also on hand to explain further details about the planning process. He noted that the design planning process gave significant consideration to the input of stakeholders, like the Tennis Club, Golf Club, and Association members.
“This process that we’re going through… is never a linear process,” said Mason. “We’re always open to comments that lead us to new ideas.”
Yet, several objectives still need to be addressed before the next phase of planning can begin. They include: providing adequate parking, visual experience, accessibility, and usability. With those considerations in mind, plans A3, A4, A5, and C2 appeared to be strong candidates at the meeting.
According to Yahr, at present, reliable figures on how the club will be financed and how membership dues will function are not knowable at the moment, but will be made available following the conclusion of the design phase. As far as overall costs, however, Yahr still expects the initial estimate of $10-12 million for the project to be accurate.
The next steps in the planning phase are:
- Collecting additional input from stakeholders;
- Final recommendation on site and program from subcommittee;
- Town Hall meeting to review site and program plans;
- Formal architecture design;
- Cost estimates and financing modeling;
- Second Town Hall meeting;
- Complete feasibility analysis;
- Review and approval by RSFA Board; and the
- Third and final Town Hall
Only after a series of community meetings and approval from the Association Board will the Covenant Club planning process culminate a vote of the community. The vote is expected to take place in March or April 2016.
During the question and answer portion of the presentation, several members in attendance questioned the Association’s authority with respect to planning and building the Covenant Club. Association Manager Bill Overton clarified how the bylaws apply in this instance.
“The bylaws have no statement on how this precise vote would be conducted,” he explained.
Nevertheless, the Association Board is sticking to its original promise to ensure the whole community has a chance to weigh in throughout the process via a vote of the membership.
“The whole thing – location, size, design, financing, membership – every aspect of it, from the beginning, is going to get voted on,” Overton added.
An additional concern raised by residents in attendance revolved around how similar communities in San Diego would stack up.
Santaluz and Morgan Run maintain similar facilities between 14,000-18,000 square feet. They both feature a pool and fitness center and are supported by around 400 members. Board Director Heather Slosar, chair of the Covenant Club Committee, said experts cautiously estimate a facility in the Ranch would attract about 550 initial members which would grow to 675 over 5 years, based on industry trends.
“We were very conservative with our numbers,” said Slosar.
Additional community meetings are planned for the coming months where Ranch residents can raise concerns, submit feedback, and receive information.