A Successful Community Must be Governed by a Majority of its Members

By Rachel Leheny

April 22, 2016

We, the residents of Rancho Santa Fe, are living through some exciting times as a number of improvements and changes to our community—universal internet access, cell coverage improvements, updated by-laws, and a Covenant Club—are all being considered. Of these, the proposed Covenant Club truly addresses who we want to be.

Since moving to the Covenant thirteen years ago with very young children, I have hoped for a centrally-located pool and fitness facility where people could meet in a casual, “no scheduling needed” way. It looks like that may actually happen, and to me that is very exciting. I see a place where all members of our community can gather with old friends and make new ones. This sense of community is the underpinning of our rich history and is our greatest asset for the future.

Naturally, my enthusiasm for the Covenant Club is cautious as I, like many of you, still have questions about its “feasibility”.

First, can we make this work financially? The current plan is very expensive and must be value-engineered before we consider moving forward. The Covenant Club committee is working on value-engineering options and on ways to pay for the club. I look forward to seeing their proposals.

Second, will our new club really enhance our existing world-class golf and tennis clubs by adding amenities like a pool, fitness center, and casual dining facility? There are several ways to build these features, and the committee has been investigating these carefully. This process, like the building of a new school a decade ago, will be iterative and will engage input from everyone who wants to be heard.

Now, some may not want a Covenant Club under any circumstances. The most important thing for me is that every member of the community gets the right to vote on the project like they were promised when the study was proposed.

In time, the Association Board will be scrutinizing the plans, the costs, and the amenities. When a reasonable proposal is ready, the community will vote.

No matter how fabulous any one person thinks the plan is, a successful community must be governed by the majority of its members.

Our community is so lucky to have assets like the Golf Club and Tennis Club. These clubs benefit everyone, not just their members. We are also lucky to have the talent and acumen of dedicated citizens to develop a feasible plan for a new club. A financially sound, community-considered Covenant Club could offer wonderful amenities to a large number of current and future members. If done right, it should raise all our home values and the overall quality of our beautiful Ranch.

That is why I support bringing a value-engineered Covenant Club plan to a vote of the community.

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