What is “Real Property Rights”?
A. Real Property Rights (RPR)
is a group of citizens formed primarily to ensure that local city councils do not down zone or take private property rights
away from owners, thereby reducing value. It has formed a general purpose (county wide) committee, registered with the California
Secretary of State and the City of Solana Beach. RPR intends to circulate an Initiative for Solana Beach
Voter’s Rights or possibly create a new entity to assist citizens defending their property rights. When it is approved by
the voters it will require the City Council to place any changes to land use laws that affect property rights or property
values on the next election ballot. The Initiative would also roll back any zoning changes passed by the council since 1/1/06
to restore the Special Commercial Zone on South Cedros Avenue.
Q. What is "Unite Solana"?
Unite Solana (US) is a recently formed general purpose committee, registered with the California Secretary of State and the
City of Solana Beach. Its membership consists of many long time city residents and property owners concerned about the divisive
and politicized direction of Solana Beach's current City Council. Their first task is to defeat Prop. A and to see to it that
any future changes to the City's development standards are rational, broadly supported, and consistent with the City's general
plan. Over time, US will work to ensure that the City's government better reflects its entire citizenry, not just narrow special
Q. Are “Unite Solana” and “Real Property Rights” connected in any way?
A. No. While they share philosophical beliefs the two committees are not connected in any way.
Members of one group may or may not be members of the other group.
Q. How did this whole thing get started?
A. It began with “some citizens” voicing their “concerns” about “Mansions” being built in their
neighborhoods to several newly elected council persons in early 2005. After discussion, it was determined that the City should
hire a Consultant, Mr. Michael Needham, at a cost of approximately $173,000.00. He conducted one “workshop”
and returned to the council with suggested zoning changes, including some areas and excluding other areas of town, all west
of Interstate 5. It should be noted that there have never been any “findings” to explain why some streets are in the “Small
Residences Only Zones” (SROZ) and others are not included. After many public hearings this became Ordinance 349 which morphed
into 353 and is now 357.
How many homes are in the Small Residences Only Zones (SROZ)?
Estimates range between 1,100 and 1,200. Even the City of Solana Beach doesn’t know for sure. But we do know that a significant
number of single family detached (SFD) homes will be affected. We believe there are approximately 3,500 SFD homes in SB, so
this ordinance would represent approx. one third of all homes. Several Council Members have talked about making this ordinance
effective city wide, should Prop. A pass.
Q. Why is there a Special Election?
This is a very interesting question. After the City passed Ord. #349 a group of citizens successfully ran
a Referendum petition campaign & collected enough signatures to force the City to either recall the Ordinance or place it
on a ballot. (Note: They deliberately did not collect 15% of the registered voters signatures because they didn’t want to
force a special election) The City could have placed it on the next regular election at a cost of less than $5,000 rather
than the estimated $150,000 this Special Election will cost. We think this is one more example of fiscal irresponsibility.
Q. What is a
A. FARare initials for Floor
Area Ratio. FAR is an equation determined by the relationship between the total square footage of the lot multiplied by the
allowed percentages (a four tiered formula) to give you the total allowed FAR of the building. Simply, if you have a 6,000
s.f. lot you can build a house with the FAR up to 50% (current zoning is 60%) of the lot size, or 3,000 s.f. There are various
exclusions and inclusions, etc., and please note this is a very simplified explanation.
What is Ordinance 349?
A. 349 was the first ordinance eventually
passed by the Solana Beach City Council. After approximately 1 year and numerous hearings Ordinance 349 was passed on 10/13/06
by 3 to 1 vote, Joe Kellejian the only dissenting vote (Roberts was absent.). Shortly after 349 was signed into law, a citizen
named Dan Chambers found a massive error in the formula for calculating the allowable Floor Area Ratio (FAR). After much hand
wringing and many phone calls the council held a special meeting and hurriedly introduced an Ordinance 353 to correct the
most glaring error.
What is Ordinance 357?
Ordinance 357 is essentially the
same as 349 and 353 (see above) and it was the result of the City of Solana Beach having received (and the Registrar verifying)
the Referendum circulated against 349. The City decided to do an end run around the Referendum (which should have had an election
on whether the citizens wanted 349 or not) and essentially duplicated 349/353 and called it 357 and introduced it as a City
Initiative. A group called Unite Solana felt this was a violation of California Election Law and sued the City to stop this
end run. Unfortunately, the CA Appellate court did not agree with them. Ordinance 357 is what the special election on 3/6/07
is about. Here is a link to the text: Ordinance 357
Q. What is Proposition A?
A. Proposition A is the
name of the City Initiative on Ordinance 357 election on 3/6/07. The voters decided, by 67 votes, to reduce the Floor Area
Ratios (FARs) in six areas of Solana Beach, all west of Interstate 5.
Q. What is “SROZ?”
A. S.R.O.Z. stands for
“Special Residential Overlay Zone”, a designation that is not in the Solana Beach General Plan. This zone was created by a
consultant the City of Solana Beach hired to reduce the FARs in six “special” areas all west of I-5. We call it the “Small
Residences Only Zones”. You can see a map of the zones on the "Issues" tab of this website.
Q. What is “DRP”?
DRP stands for “Development Review Permit”, which we contend is a Design Review Permit under a slightly disguised term. DRP Link
Q. What is the “General Plan”?
A. The General Plan
(GP) is the frame work under which all zoning in the City of Solana Beach should be written. We contend that the introduction
of the SROZ is in direct conflict with the GP, since the establishment is in effect a GP amendment without actually amending
the General Plan. General Plan Link
Q. What does “Non-Conforming” mean?
A. The term “Non-Conforming” (NC) literally means that your home does
not conform to the current zoning laws. The problem with Prop. A is not limited to what size home you could build in the
future; it is about possibly making your existing home NC. In other words, if your home conformed to the zoning standards
when it was built, but the City down zoned your property making the allowable Floor Area Ration (FAR) smaller, then your house
could become NC. NC is a red flag to buyers, mortgage companies & insurance companies. NC should be disclosed by Sellers
to Buyers. Not only does this negatively affect the value of your home, there are other problems being swept under the rug.
The Council loves to tell you that you can rebuild, but they don’t like to tell you the dirty little secret: if it is destroyed
you have to start your reconstruction within one year and finish the construction within eighteen months. Government knows
this is almost impossible to do. Ask the Cedar Fire victims if one year is enough time. The Council has said that they will
address this “some time in the future”. We think they should fix it now! And the whole purpose of the NC designation is
that they don’t want the non-conformity to continue. The Council does not want to openly discuss the problem of major repairs
and thus continuing the NC condition.
Q. Beside FAR, are there any other ways that my house could become Non-Conforming?
Yes, there are many ways your house could become NC, you could have a “three story façade”, you could have an enclosed atrium
that would be added to your calculated square footage, or even a garden window that projects into your side yard set back.
Q. The City contends that a DRP will not be required
for homes needing permits in the SROZ. Is this true?
A. This was the subject for a hearing at a recent City Council meeting.
They declared that this was not their intent and added some clarifying verbiage to state that. We feel that the ordinance,
as written, would trigger a DRP for any permit required in the Small Residences Only Zones. Read Section 7 for yourself.
Even though the City issued a statement saying that being in the SROZ will not trigger the DRP process, we believe they could
be compeled to do what their poorly written ordinance says.
Q. When was the Special Election?
A. The Special
Election was on Tuesday March 6, 2007
Q. Does Ordinance 357 only affect homes in the SROZ?
A. For the most part,
the answer to the question is “yes”, however some of 357 does affect all homes in Solana Beach. Specifically, in 357 removed
all over the counter “minor exceptions” citywide. See the text of 357 for yourself.
Q. How will my home value be affected if it is in the SROZ now that Prop. A (357) has passed?
have put a table on the "Issues" tab of this website, click over there. You will be able to find your lot size and the difference
between what you could have built previously and what you will be able to build now that Proposition A passed.
Why is the City of Solana Beach doing this?
A. That is a very good question. Why don’t you call one of your Council members
and ask them: 858-720-2400,
Q. How much will this cost the City, now that Proposition A passed?
A. That is another
good question. The problem is that the City of Solana Beach never did any studies to determine the cost to property tax revenues.
We feel this is another example of fiscal irresponsibility the current City Council has demonstrated.
Q. How much
did this COST Solana Beach Tax Payers ( You )so far?
A. We think there are many more important issues affecting every
day quality of life here in Solana Beach. Real Property Rights (RPR) questions why the City Council has spent approximately
$500,000 of our tax dollars on “Anti-Mansionization” & So. Cedros down zoning, and so have many other citizens. How do we
arrive at that figure?
Staff time (estimate/no disclosure by City) @ $150,000
Election (Council’s Choice) $100,000-$150,000
thinks that this estimate is fairly accurate, if not underestimated. We will never get a true accounting. Planning staff’s
time should have been used getting permits out faster. Is this really your most important issue in Solana Beach? Of course
not. Wouldn’t that money have been better spent on doing something to decrease our traffic problems or assisting neighborhoods
with under grounding utilities? How about paying the “Rail Trail” maintenance, rather than adding a new tax on all of us?
The point is that the Council has not been fiscally responsible using OUR tax dollars.
Q. Why did they change the
name of the Ordinance?
A. The ordinance used to be called the “Anti-Mansionization Ordinance”, do you remember that?
Now it is called the “Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance”. Why the change? We think it is because they heard complaints
about the negativity of that name. They had to come up with a name that was more “politically correct” and would still appeal
to your emotions rather than logic. We know you’re smarter than that.
Q. Why were your Comments & Letters dismissed?
Real Property Rights (RPR) researched the public records; documented letters and emails sent to the City in 2006 were counted:
there were 41 letters in favor of the ordinance, 110 against it and 27 asking questions or not saying anything definitive
one way or another. If someone wrote more than once in a given month it was only counted once, so it couldn't be skewed.
If the count had included husband and wife teams as two, rather than one, the numbers could be even more exaggerated. These
numbers don't lie, only 37% were in favor of this ordinance. This translates to almost 2/1 were against it !!! How can
a responsible City Council disregard such input?
Q. Why would the SB City Council ignore your Real Property Rights?
A flood of written comments, largely in opposition, were glossed over at the meetings. There were many well stated oral
comments at the various hearings. The City Council, with one exception (Joe Kellejian) seem intent on only listening to their
friends. They constantly pushed to impose these un-needed measures on their neighbors. They want to take away your property
rights by decreasing FAR’s, adding things that can be counted in the FAR’s and adding other restrictions, to mention only
a few of the problems.
Q. Just who is “misleading” who?
A. Our City Council claims that Prop. A will “protect
property values” and they love to point to Del Mar and Santa Barbara for examples of value not being hurt by excessive regulation.
It is very clear that none of them knows anything about Real Estate Value, nor how to evaluate it.
The plain and simple
truth is that ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, like the same neighborhood, same view, same age etc. a 3,000 square foot home will sell
for more than a 2,000 square foot home. There can not be any debate, especially about value. Then there is their mailer,
with a photo of Cardiff above and SB below, asking where you would rather live. The properties in Cardiff that they compare
are CONDOS, not single family residences. It is just like the deception on their front page of a house in Bay Park, because
they couldn’t find an example here. Talk about deception, just who is misleading who? Even their debate about the View Ordinance
is a ruse. The reason many of us fought the VAC was for the very thing that is happening with it now. That is non-professional
people making arbitrary and capricious decisions. And, oh yes, Property Rights are another reason; at least they got that
If we have not answered your questions, please email it to Louise Abbott: email@example.com.
I will do everything I can to answer your question promptly. Thank you.