Covenant to vote on Dacus property sale

A petition opposing the sale of the Dacus property to the Rancho Santa Fe School District garnered enough votes to force a vote by Rancho Santa Fe Association members.

Ballots were mailed on April 7 after residents on Mimosa sought a guarantee about street access as a restriction of the sale.

Ballots in the special election, which will cost the association $8,000, are due back by May 11 at 5 p.m.

On Feb. 19, the association voted to approve the sale of the 1.2-acre lot on El Fuego for between $1.3 million and $1.45 million. The school intends to use the land as a storage area for their upcoming construction and in the future for traffic circulation and playing fields.

Petitioners made it clear that their issue was not with the school but with the terms of the resolution. They want restrictions worked into the resolution that would assure no street egress and ingress would be made in the future onto Mimosa.

“Our concern is to preserve Mimosa as a residential street,” said petitioner Rich Marr. “The issue should not be whether or not to sell Dacus, just acceptable street use for Mimosa and El Fuego residents.”

A total of 104 voting members signed the petition, although association Manager Pete Smith said some have called to ask to have their names removed.

One of those people, Nancy Bailey, said she felt she was misled to think the petition was only about landscaping and beautifying the property.

Jones said she doesn’t believe false information was presented purposely to get people to sign.

Lindy Delaney, school district superintendent, said that the school has no plans to allow access to Mimosa but she is uncomfortable buying a property at full price that has restrictions on it.

She said while she has had “great, honest and open” conversations with the petitioners, the school is only left with one option.

“We’re put in a position where we’re going to have to fight,” Delaney said, noting she would advise her board to purchase the land with restrictions and would pursue eminent domain if the election results were against the sale.

Another factor

Complicating matters a bit more is that in selling the land, the association is reserving a right to use Dacus as the new site for the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol, should they not be able to find a new home for them.

The patrol is currently housed at the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District but they have been asked to vacate by September.

While Association President Lois Jones said they have been working very hard to find an alternate location for the patrol. But she added that they don’t want to limit the future use of the patrol the Dacus property, especially if they might need Mimosa as an emergency exit to quickly arrive on the scene of an incident.

Mimosa residents argued that with the crimes that have occurred in the village, such as the armed robbery of Bank of America last December, the community would be better served in the patrol being “downtown” in the village rather than hidden in a residential community.

Jones said the board does not disagree but said spare land in the village (with adequate parking) is hard to come by.

“We really don’t want the patrol there either, but one thing we can’t do is give away our only option,” said board member Deb Plummer.

Association board candidate Jack Queen said he wondered if the vote and its $8,000 cost could have been saved with an appropriate discussion between all parties, including the neighbors.

“Let’s sit down and hammer this out and not have a vote,” Queen said. “It’s silly to do all that.”

Jones said they didn’t have a choice in the matter - because of the petition signed by 100 members it is required to go to a vote.