On November 4, the board of directors of the Rancho Santa Fe association rescinded its ban on wood grain-look plank siding or fiber cement products, commonly referred to as “Hardie panels”. In addition, the council also approved new, relaxed exterior materials regulations, which removed all percentage limits on the use of wood in new homes and Covenant reconstructions.
After 30 days of public comment, council can adopt the new by-law at its December meeting.
In September, Director Greg Gruzdowich formally proposed to revisit the board’s position on faux wood materials and percentage limits in the code chapter of the community regulation. Gruzdowich’s proposal was bolstered by a letter from Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District Chief Fred Cox supporting the use of fiber cement building materials as a substitute for wood due to its fire resistant nature.
The vote to overturn and publish the new settlement was 5-2 with chairman Bill Weber and manager Rick Sapp opposed. Sapp had said that until they pass the new regulatory chapter, it would be unwise to rescind the resolution as it creates a vacuum for projects that go through the art jury review process.
Director Laurel Lemarié once again declared her strong support for the rescinding of the resolution as she believes it was a “resolution disguised as a regulation” and that it was not done correctly in 2019. Sapp, the only person on the board in 2019, clarified that this is a valid resolution and has undergone legal review.
Previous councils had worried about allowing non-preferred materials like wood or Hardie panel, as the material might prevail as the primary type of construction in the community, which they did not interpret as the intent of the Covenant. .
According to paragraph 159 of the Protection Pact, the preferred materials in the Ranch are plaster, adobe or stucco, concrete, stone or an approved artificial stone. Wood is not listed as a preferred material, but it is not prohibited. According to paragraph 155, “materials, colors and shapes must be used honestly, truly expressing what they are and not imitating other materials”.
In the new Exterior Materials Regulation, all percentage limitations on the use of wood have been removed, as requested by Gruzdowich.
The exterior materials bylaw first approved by council in 2020 stipulated that wood was allowed up to 25% in new construction and renovations. A revision in March 2021 removed the limitation on renovations and increased the amount allowed in new construction to 33%.
In this latest revision of the regulations, the art jury proposed wording limiting the use of wood and fiber cement products, in particular by restricting the style of coating to the type of boards and slats and by limiting the use of materials. to the architectural type of California Ranch. On projects built in the California Ranch style, the art jury proposed that the use of the material be capped at 50% unless it is used in barns or horse breeding facilities.
Art Jury Chairman Bill Danola said the proposed wording provided clarity and supported the interpretation that wood is not a preferred material on the ranch.
The majority of the jury disagreed with the inclusion of artistic jury language. Sapp was in favor of approving both languages for publication as it is a complicated issue and it would give the community some insight into how the art jury will judge the designs of the projects.
Gruzdowich and Lemarié said they did not support any percentage limits in the revised regulations.
“We should recommend the use of Hardie planks over wood,” said Gruzdowich speaking on behalf of community safety with the use of more durable and fire retardant masonry. “It’s something we should recommend, not limit.”
The regulations are now posted for public consultation. Members of the Convention can submit their comments to [email protected]