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Kenneth Markstein will succeed Fred Wasserman as president of the Rancho Santa Fe Association board. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
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Association settles on fine schedule

 Rancho Santa Fe Covenant residents who violate the rules may be subject to fines approved by the Rancho Santa Fe Association board members at its last monthly board meeting. On March 1, board member Allen Finkleson said that resident comments had been received.

“I looked at them, and I don’t believe any warrant changes,” he said. “I make a motion that we adopt the resolution that adopts the fine schedule.”

The schedule was first proposed during a January board meeting. It was posted for 30 days to encourage member input per the Davis-Stirling Act for homeowners associations.

Before the fine schedule was approved, Covenant residents who violated the rules were subject to a loss of golf and tennis privileges as well as being unable to vote for Covenant matters.

Now, fines have been added to the list.

The Association’s building commissioner, Tom Farrar, brought the fine schedule to the board table in January, explaining it took several months of research. They compiled material based on fines that other cities and HOAs cited for their itemized violations. 

“We want to give code enforcement some teeth with these numbers (fine schedule),” Farrar said in January. “And we don’t just go to the fine schedule — we try to resolve those issues.”

Fine amounts were not disclosed at either the January or March board meeting.

According to Association Manager Christy Whalen, the fine schedule is only provided to Covenant residents at the Association office or on the private members-only portion on the Association’s website.   

The fines are split between nonconstruction and construction violations.

When the Association’s code enforcement officer learns of a non-construction violation, such as visual clutter, it will research the situation and try to resolve the issue via communication with the Covenant resident. If it goes unresolved, a violation notice is sent out next. Unless specified differently, there is a minimum of at least 14 days to resolve the issue. 

If after this time the matter is still not resolved, the member will be notified that a hearing will occur. The member will be heard, and the board can vote to impose discipline (fine schedule) if it so chooses.

If a fine is enforced, the Association must receive payment within five days of the board’s ruling. If payment is not received, code enforcement will alert the board on the next steps, which may be legal action.

On the other hand, construction violations, such as a home addition without proper permits, may be subject to a “stop work order.” First, the code enforcement would try to resolve the issue through a courtesy notice.

If the matter were not resolved quickly, a decision to impose disciplines such as fines or membership privileges would occur.

Association members must be provided at least a 15-day notice of a scheduled board hearing.

In addition to the fee schedule for nonconstruction and construction violations, the board unanimously approved the “Nuisance and Special Event” regulation in an effort to stop residences in the Covenant as venues for weddings and other special events.