Dacus land sale OK'd

RSF School District to purchase property

Last week the Association Board approved a resolution to sell the Dacus property to the Rancho Santa Fe School District, despite the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District's expressed interest in the land.

According to the resolution, the best use for this property addresses the needs of the school. The property value is still under appraisal but the board expects the value to be between $1.3 million and $1.45 million.

Officials from the district said R. Roger Rowe School would use the 1.28 acres on El Fuego to alleviate pick-up and drop-off congestion and eventually build playing fields.

Last month, the Fire Protection District submitted a resolution of necessity to the association stating they would like to use the Dacus property for immediate parking needs and the future expansion of its operating facilities.

Fire District Chief Nick Pavone said in recent meetings with the school and the association, all parties agreed to a six-month period before taking action on the land.

"We will continue to negotiate with each other to explore other options," Pavone said of the six-month stay. "We want to work toward a goal to meet everyone's needs without having to go through eminent domain proceedings."

According to the Covenant, the association must give members 30 days notice before the sale of real property. If one person objects he or she has the opportunity to force a membership vote on the sale if they can gather 100 petition signatures.

Property's value

The association purchased the Dacus property in 1997 as part of their open space plan, Association Manager Pete Smith said. At the time, the association envisioned a green belt around the village, but because of the declining availability of land and increasing real estate prices, it became apparent that was not a realistic goal.

Since 2000, the association has discussed selling the land to the school district and the property factored into the district's plan to renovate Rowe after the $34 million school bond Proposition E passed last February with 72 percent of the vote.

Board member Steve Shillington said the land should be reviewed as a commercial property rather than a residential property in the appraisal process.

He said, as a residential property, the value would be lower due to traffic noise and its proximity to two busy streets.

Shillington said his point is not to boost the asking price, but to recognize how generous the association is, especially if the property is worth more than $1.4 million.

The members of the association bought the land for open space and could end up selling the property to the school for less than its value. Shillington said the associations should get some credit for that, he said.

"Here we have an example where we're going above and beyond to help the school district," he said.

   
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