RANCHO SANTA FE — What began as routine updating of Association bylaws turned into an earnest discussion regarding a change in the purchasing power of the board.
The change, suggested by directors Deb Plummer and Roxana Foxx at the Dec. 2 meeting, would limit the Association’s authority to sell, mortgage or purchase real property that is valued at $2 million or more. Under the current bylaws, the Association board must only notify the membership of the proposed transfer subject to a 30-day period for filing a petition in opposition. The proposed change would require the proposed purchase be put to a vote of the membership.
Plummer said she believes when the Association is deciding to buy a piece of property such as the Osuna Ranch, they need more input from the membership instead of rushing through the process.
She said when she and others learned of the purchase, it seemed it was too late to have a say in the matter.
“I did look at it as a done deal,” she said.
The sitting Association board at the time bought the Osuna property in January 2006 for just less than $12 million. It is currently a working equestrian ranch and in the future will serve as a historic center for the community.
Plummer said buying land, like the Osuna property, digs deeper into the pockets of members.
“I see this as an additional tax on the members. I would feel more comfortable if the board had a limit,” she said.
“Those of us who were around at the time, it was a very popular idea,” Doughty said. “We had a meeting at the Garden Club that was well-attended.”
Plummer said that some of the discourse came after the land value “crashed.”
“Now the property is not worth close to what we paid for it,” she said.
She said that if future purchases were put before the membership, they could not complain about the outcome.
Director Jack Queen pointed out that at the time, there was competition for the land, one being a developer.
“I like the concept, but on the other hand I wonder if it would cause us to lose out on things,” said Anne Feighner, director. “I would not support it as it stands.”
Queen suggested the item go before the finance committee for discussion.
“I think more discussion is needed to take place, if that’s what it takes to do it right,” Doughty said. “It has not been baked enough yet.”
Queen said that despite all the ups and downs of buying the property, it was worth it.
“I think the Osuna Ranch will be one of the focal points of Rancho Santa Fe,” Queen said.
The other bylaw changes were to changes in the California law that regulates homeowners associations; to clean up confusing language; or clean up provisions of the bylaws that cannot be followed for practical reasons.
The last time the bylaws were updated was 2006.