RSFA: September BOD: Beware As-Builts!


Pony Club

I somehow missed this, but Osuna is hosting a pony club this Sunday for beginner riders to learn about horsemanship and also get a pony ride.

Roger Rowe Education Fund

Our local K-8 school asked the RSFA Board to donate Association funds towards their yearly Education Fund which goes towards enhancing the school beyond what a typical public school can afford. Director Dan Comstock pointed out that the school was a major community asset that attracts new families to move here. Pushing back against the impression that the Association has never before helped the school, Director Lorraine Kent pointed out that we recently spent $100,000 repairing/building the sidewalk near the school to help the kids.

The Board unanimously agreed to participate in this year’s fund at the Gold level ($5,000).

Art Jury Decision Appeal To The Board

If a Member receives a denial from the Art Jury for their project, they may request a mediation and if that does not resolve the issue then they can request a formal appeal to the Board to possibly overturn the Art Jury decision.

A Member presented such an appeal at the September Board meeting. At issue was the Member built an as-built structure that significantly intruded into a side yard setback.

While the Board discussed this issue from every conceivable angle, as this Board is wont to do, the reality is that absent some demonstrated Art Jury bias or incorrect facts, the Board would be treading on very dangerous grounds to overturn both a unanimous Art Jury finding and Building Department recommendation. And this wasn’t even an Art Jury subjective opinion. It was a black and white regulation violation.

In the end, the Board voted to uphold the Art Jury denial, and the Member will now be asked to demolish the structure in the setback, and be subject to fines for non-compliance.

This may seem harsh, but the alternative is worse. If the Board does not uphold our regulations, we might as well not have any at all.

As Builts

Whenever a Member decides the Art Jury process is too onerous and rolls the dice with an as-built, they are courting this same result. Having had submitted more Art Jury projects than I can remember over the years (more than 10 for sure), I can confidentially say that the Art Jury process isn’t that bad!

Problems occur when a Member:

  • Tries to shoe horn a project onto a property which just isn’t appropriate for the project scope. Every property is unique and we have many, many challenging lots where you simply cannot build everything you might want to construct.
  • Ignores the Latin inspired aesthetic that the Art Jury strives to adhere to (and that the Protective Covenant mandates).
  • Uses cheap materials/architecture. The Art Jury rightfully mandates high quality building materials and architecture.
  • Just doesn’t pay attention to our Regulatory Code. Setbacks, fence styles, hammerheads, grading changes are just some of the things you must pay attention to, and the code isn’t subjective. The regulations are very clear cut.

Our regulations really aren’t very restrictive, especially compared to our neighboring communities like the Bridges (try to build a ranch house there), or Del Mar (very stringent noise regulations as well as severe view restrictions). Our regulations are common sense really.

Anyways, I’ll leave you with these previously written articles about the Art Jury which you may find informative:

Gateway Project Zoning Change Application

The Gateway project was to be a mixed use office building/grocery store located where the village gas station and empty lot is. The developers have now changed their plan (due to the commercial office space downturn) and want to build a senior housing center and grocery store in the same location with essentially the same footprint/exterior look.

Latest rendering of the proposed Gateway project.

To do this, the zoning designation needs to be changed from G to D. The current zoning designation is an archaic designation that made sense in 1929, but makes zero sense today. Among other things it allows a blacksmith shop, building material yard, car barn, coal yard, creamery, feed or fuel business, laundry, lumber yard, milk bottling or distributing station; railroad freight depot…

You get the idea. While it is unlikely any such business would want to locate there, it would be prudent to ensure they can’t moving forward, while also giving the lot a designation that allows more modern uses. We all want a revitalized village core, and changing zoning to D is a step towards that direction.

Zone D allows for residential uses, retail business office, professional office, retail trade, telephone exchange, fraternal society, printing office or store and prohibits a blacksmith, etc.

The next step is for ballots to go out to all Members within a 500′ radius of the property to approve the zoning change, costs to be borne by the developer.

Fine Schedule Cleanup Language

The Board received a few emailed member comments stating they didn’t like the fine schedule changes, yet didn’t indicate why or what part. My suspicion is that people still think we might raise fine amounts, but that fell by the wayside based on member input a few months ago. All that is left is cleanup language to make things more clear and to bring the language in conformance with changed regulations (ie. change the grading fine to be a violation of 100 cubic yards instead of 200 cubic yards as the regulation got changed to that a couple of years ago). Also there is a new California law that overrules one of the Covenant provisions on long term rentals.

An any rate, the new language has been posted for comment again (viewable on the RSF Association web site), and if anyone has specific comments on these cleanup changes, please send them to