Gates and Pilasters Regulation Feedback Requested

By Phil Trubey

March 6, 2022

The March 2022 Board meeting saw a new Regulatory Code section, Gates and Pilasters, posted for member comment. This had previously been regulated entirely by Art Jury discretion, as informed by the Residential Design Guidelines.

This Board has been on a mission to eliminate the Residential Design Guidelines and turn those guidelines into Regulatory Code chapters. This is a huge change in policy. When rules are framed as guidelines, the Art Jury can make common sense exceptions where appropriate. When rules are framed as black and white regulations, the Art Jury is stripped of their decision making power.

This doesn’t work as can be seen by the examples below. Please review the regulation yourself and provide feedback to

42B.3.2 Location. Gates shall be a minimum distance of 50’ from property line to provide adequate space for turnarounds and landscaping.

Residents with smaller lots and more suburban style lots are now de facto barred from having an auto gate. Also, in the past the Art Jury would allow gates placed near the road if the property was on a dead end (since there is no need for a hammerhead turnaround). The ability to apply common sense exceptions would longer possible with this regulation.

42B.4.2 Gates shall be of a simple design and understated. Gates shall not be ornate or eye-catching, nor too modern or contemporary. Gate designs must reflect the pre-dominant architecture of Rancho Santa Fe.

This is what happens when you turn a guideline into a regulation. You end up with mush. These are all subjective statements, not black and white requirements. Does my gate qualify under this? I have no idea. The reality is that this is adjudicated in practice by a vote of the Art Jury. At best, the words above are guidelines that inform Art Jury decisions.

Why does this matter? Because regulation non-compliance is enforceable via quite hefty fines. A random member who doesn’t like your gate can complain and then the enforcement officer staff employee must make a determination of compliance based on the above??? How’s that going to work?

42B.6.1 Where pedestrian gates are permitted, they shall be of wood: Pasture type, peeler pole, split rail or other open design, to match fencing.

So if I construct a metal auto gate, I can’t match the architecture with my pedestrian gate? They have to mismatch? What’s wrong with an open metal pedestrian gate given that you allow open metal auto gates? And I guess you can’t construct your pedestrian gate out of wood look-a-like Hardie Board, it has to be a high maintenance wooden material.


This is a major new architectural limitation. The current Regulatory Code makes no mention of wing walls. In the past, such determinations, permitting certain architecture features, were left to the discretion of the Art Jury. A wing wall may indeed work better than alternatives in a particular situation. Prohibiting it for all situations is unnecessary and arbitrary. The proposed regulation also has no definition of what a wing wall is, there are many possible definitions.

42B.10.4 Turnarounds shall be located twenty-five feet (25’) before the gate.

Not 24′. Not 26′. 30′ is right out. Exactly 25′. No allowance for topography challenges. Measured to the front of the turnaround, middle or back?


There are many problems with this proposed regulation. It strips the Art Jury of some of its ability to make complex judgement calls. It use subjective language which cannot be interpreted as being compliant (and this matters as fines are based on such subjective language). It codifies a major architectural feature, wing walls, as prohibited.

Please review the regulation yourself and provide feedback to

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