Ranch community asked to pick a park

RANCHO SANTA FE — On Sept. 22, the residents of Rancho Santa Fe were invited to the Garden Club to look at four conceptual drawings for Village Park improvements. More than 50 people took the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Planning Director Ivan Holler and review the proposed concepts for in front of The Inn.
The chairman of the Planning Committee, Jerry Block, introduced Holler. “This is one of the top priorities for the present board of directors,” Holler told the crowd. “The Village Park is not very pedestrian-friendly. We asked ourselves, ‘Can we improve that situation?’ We’re trying to work within the Village Master Plan.” Holler explained that the conceptual drawings for the parks have been in progress for the past 18 months and were recently given to the Art Jury for their input. Challenges that the Art Jury and board of directors were to consider were lack of sidewalks, uneven surfaces and slopes, insufficient parking, eucalyptus infestation and overall too much pavement in front of the Inn along Avenida de Acacias.
The first alternative that Holler introduced was the least expensive and required only minimal improvements. Landscaping changed, but little else. The cost was approximately $400,000.
The second alternative featured realignment of the intersection at Linea del Cielo and El Tordo. There would be a gain of 14 parking spaces and there would be pop-outs at the crosswalks, much as there are now at El Tordo and La Granada, in front of the pharmacy. The second alternative also featured an amphitheatre that would allow approximately 200 people to congregate on the lawn area for special events. The cost for this concept was approximately $750,000.
The third alternative dramatically changes the look of the village and is, perhaps, the most controversial. It closes segments of La Gracia and Linea del Cielo. It gains 31 parking spaces, but would require a traffic study. It would also require many of the slopes to be graded to accommodate the parking. It comes at a cost of approximately $1.5 million.
The fourth alternative was proposed by the Art Jury and features decorative paving, yet minimal improvements to the streets and crosswalks. There would be a gain of six parking spaces and La Gracia headed east would be made a one-way street with parallel parking allowed. This, too, would require a traffic study. Many cosmetic improvements would be made to the Village Park and the cost would be approximately $550,000.
According to Holler, the next step is to take the public comments back to the Planning Committee. The board of directors will look at the comments and move forward accordingly.
After the presentation, residents were given the opportunity to view the designs at the back of the room. Several board members and Association staff were available to answer questions and hand out comment cards.
At the Oct. 1 Association meeting, Holler reported, “Overall the majority were supportive of improvements.” He stated that most were in favor of either the second or third concept. Next, staff will take these comments into consideration and will start to consider specific design orders.
“This is a priority,” President Bill Beckman said. “Let’s keep it moving forward.”

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