Above: Allen Finkelson, vice president of the RSF Association board, discusses issues such as the progress of RSF Connect as well staffing challenges during the May 9 annual meeting at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
RANCHO SANTA FE — Covenant residents listened to the 2018 highlights as well as what to expect for the remainder of 2019 at the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s annual meeting at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club on May 9.
Leading the annual meeting highlights was board Vice President Allen Finkelson, whose three-year term ends this year along with board President Ken Markstein and Treasurer Janet Danola.
Finkelson first discussed RSF Connect, the 1-gigabit high-speed fiber network which will deliver internet service in the Covenant. According to Finkelson, more than 50 miles of conduit have already been placed.
“I’m happy to tell you that despite the five weeks of rain delay, we are on time,” he said, adding the project was on budget. “The network backbone is expected to be fully operational by the end of September 2019 — customer connections should begin in early summer and done by a zone by zone basis.”
Finkelson added that he didn’t know which zones would be first, but said Covenant residents can get those details when they are posted on the Association’s website. He was also hopeful that any resident wanting RSF Connect would be able to have it by the end of the calendar year.
Finkelson then said just this year, the Association board acted in ensuring that any development in the Covenant is consistent with the character of the Protective Covenant.
“This board began for the very first time to exercise supervisory authority over the CDRC (Covenant Design Review Committee),” he said.
Finkelson said the board provided guidance to the CDRC about the adherence to the Covenant, Regulatory Code, and architectural guidelines, which include building styles and materials.
Next Finkelson addressed the Association’s position on violations in the Covenant, which included “stop work orders” in instances of unauthorized grading and building. Property maintenance was also discussed. The Association’s Code Enforcement officer helped with these issues, however, Finkelson noted the individual had since left their position.
This segued into the next topic — staffing challenges of recruitment and retention.
In the Association’s building and administrative departments, staffing is down by 31% equating to six vacancies, Finkelson said. One of those vacancies is a building commissioner.
Finkelson wanted members to know that the board recently adopted a new employee harassment rule in an effort to improve employee retention.
Finkelson noted that this was a big issue in the Ranch.
“We don’t behave the way we should behave toward our employees,” said Finkelson, adding how this behavior makes it very difficult to retain employees.
Finkelson also said the Association is working with the RSF Golf Club board on a possible remodel of the clubhouse coupled with moving toward getting a conceptualized idea of rebranding the restaurant. So far there has been no commitment. The restaurant’s mission is to make itself a destination for all Covenant residents.
Finkelson said a new chef and food and beverage manager will begin working at the club in June.
“There is no point in building a beautiful building, unless you can serve good food on a consistent basis,” said Finkelson.
Finkelson then talked about the high cost of water and unfair water rates. The Association is currently working with Santa Fe Irrigation District making certain it is being heard on a new rate structure.
“We will not stop until we get a satisfactory answer,” he said.
Finkelson ended the 2019-2020 preview discussing the litigation regarding a group of homeowners challenging the method by which the Association calculates its assessments. The lawsuit is proceeding to the courts, he said.
Covenant homeowners are assessed on the value reflected by the San Diego County Tax Assessor and not fair market value. The plaintiffs of the lawsuit (50 homeowners whose names have not been revealed) believe that the Association’s current way of assessing is unfair.
Finkelson said that this lawsuit will get more activity in the coming year and the board will have to decide in how to deal with it. In the days ahead, Finkelson said, the Association intends to file a motion to dismiss and find out who the plaintiffs are by way of a discovery motion.