The Rancho Santa Fe Association is eyeing the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe's tennis center as a way to solve a multitude of village problems. A proposal presented at the organization's July 2 meeting suggested making the lot on Linea del Cielo and El Fuego the permanent home for the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol and constructing a 159-space, joint-use parking garage to service the fire district, the school and the Inn.
"This is very, very early in the process," said Association Manager Pete Smith, adding that they want to give the community the information so they can see what they are considering.
A committee has been meeting for the last six months to come up with solutions. This option, basically plan A, carries an overall cost of $4.2 million.
The fire department, entitled to 35 spaces, would contribute $1.6 million, and the association's share of the cost would be $2.5 million. The school would give $600,000 to be entitled to use the Inn's 108 spaces.
"Certainly there are probably negatives to address," Smith said. "I think this is an excellent opportunity for us, and I'm excited about resolving some issues that the community has faced for a long time."
The property currently has one tennis court in the middle, splitting a staff and guest parking lot.
The patrol office, at about 3,000 square feet, would be placed in the front corner off Linea Del Cielo, to have more of a visible presence.
The parking structure, with 74 spaces on the top deck and 85 spaces below will be shielded from view by landscaping. The plan also includes improving La Sendita as a one-way street to provide entry into the lower level of the garage.
The plan would be to start construction around September 2010 with occupancy by June 2011.
The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is giving the land to the association for free.
"We are delighted to do it because the parking issue is a big problem here," said Kerman Beriker, Inn manager. "We're tying to help as much as we can - that's our goal."
Board President Bill Beckman told the audience that this is still just the first option and that there will be plenty of opportunity for the public to weigh in. The plan will also have to go through the Art Jury process.
New board member Jack Queen said he isn't sold on the parking garage plan.
"I'm not going to call it a solution; it's a solution looking for a problem," Queen said. "This really in my mind is driven by the growth of the fire district, their needs…The growth is taking place outside of town, it ought to be put someplace else."
Jim Ashcraft, the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection Board president, said that the district's changing needs are not due to a growing service area but from the district's focus on fire prevention. Fire prevention positions are the ones that have increased, he said.
"Most of the growth in the district has been to protect people within the Covenant," Ashcraft said.