Why Ban Wing Walls?

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The following is a slightly edited version of a letter sent to memberinput@rsfassociation.org.

Per your request, please accept my comments on the proposed new regulations on the banning of Wing Walls, Walls and Landscape/Exterior Lighting restrictions.

I am generally in favor of Homeowners Associations rules and regulations that attempt to work to retain the character for which the community was created in its originally written CC&R’s. However, the reason why most Americans hate living in HOA’s is because of their intrusive “overreaching” rules and regulations. Yes, please write rules and regulations to avoid having the house next door painted purple. But, to go to such a degree that you won’t allow Walls nor Wing Walls, nor landscape up lighting leaves me speechless (well, except for this screed).

First let’s discuss walls. I live near a property on Los Morros which has one of the most attractive entry gates and property walls along Los Morros that exists. Are you saying that you’d rather have a wooden fence with black chain link instead of that beautiful white wall? Are you serious? That entry and wall that traverses Los Morros is amazing; that entry gate (with wing walls) is the best-looking most interesting architectural element in the Ranch – just look at it! I’m using it here as an example of making this type of over regulation. Many walls are beautiful. Yes, I understand that members of the art jury don’t want Rancho to start looking like “Bel Air”. There are many other walls throughout the community that are beautiful. But, put aesthetics aside for a moment and consider that walls have a function too and are not just a design element. They not only keep certain people and animals outside the walls, but they also offer a sense of security to the owner. How in the world can you tell a homeowner here in the USA that they can’t build a wall, can’t improve their security nor improve their sense of security?

Now, let’s discuss Wing Walls at entry gates. Here too, the proposed regulation has gone rogue. How can you possibly think that inflicting your architectural tastes upon the rest of us residents isn’t anti-American, anti-free expression? And, how in the world can the board of directors of our fine community go along with this insanity. Banning Wing Walls makes about as much sense as removing the fencing and walls in a zoo. It’s just plain silly. Consider that over 60% of the homes with gates in our community have Wing Walls. Are you going to ask these Rancho owners to remove their Wing Walls? No, fortunately for them, they are all GRANDFATHERED – I hope. Well, now, how fair is that I ask you? The answer: IT IS NOT FAIR IT IS DISCRIMINATORY.

I’ll admit that this is personal because my mother-in-law just built an addition onto our property. She originally built the house we live in 25 years ago. She submitted plans to build an entry gate and our architect designed a beautiful gate with so called “EVIL” Wing Walls. Over 70% of our neighbors have Wing Walls; just come see for yourself. But, lo and behold the art jury would not allow us to build our Wing Walls. Here again, I have to pinch myself thinking that maybe I’m not in Rancho Santa Fe California, USA, but actually living in Cuba or Venezuela. But I doubt that even in Cuba do they seek to control the construction of someone’s home or entry gate or Wing Walls.

Be that as it may, the Art Jury told us that “if we wished” we could go about the community and get our neighbors to sign letters of support for building our Wing Walls. And being a hard working person who loves small government and walls, I briefly toyed with the idea of spending days of my time talking to my neighbors about this idiocy. Then, I realized that since I manage a company here in San Diego with 400 employees and am just navigating the company through one crisis after another; first Covid, second supply chain material interruptions and now a crumbling economy, that my time was much better spent tending to my business. So, no, I didn’t canvass the community. But I am glad that there is some outreach by the board of directors on this issue and I’m glad that I’ve been asked for my opinion on this. But, despite all that, this whole matter is just plain surreal. No Walls? No Wing Walls? No Landscape Up lighting? I would suspect this type of restriction might be common in San Francisco or Portland where socialism has a toehold, but here is Rancho Santa Fe? My goodness!

I sincerely request that the board of directors not adopt these regulations out of an abundance of common sense. These rules and regulations are contrary to the character of our rural community and are too controlling and micromanaging. The people who live in Rancho Santa Fe are mature enough, intelligent enough, tasteful enough and have enough class to control their own poor design impulses. We don’t need help from “Big Brother”.

Note that the RSF Post also weighed in on this proposed regulation in here.