Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Walk down one of these residential streets in Solana Beach, and you might get the feeling you're away from it all. It's a little rural, a little beachy. And that's just how many people who live here like it – people like Councilman Dave Roberts.
Dave Roberts, Solana Beach City Council: You want to see some green space, you want to see some trees. It gives the sense of community.
Roberts says council spent two years drafting the new rules for residential building. But the one that has this community going to the polls is size.
The ordinance would restrict a homeowner with a one acre lot to building a 6,000 square foot home instead of 11,000 square feet under the current regulations.
Roberts: That's a fairly large home. It’s nearly triple the size of my house and I have four members living there.
So what's wrong with building an 11,000 square foot house, asks Dan and Marcel Chambers. They are residents leading the campaign against the city ordinance.
Dan Chambers, Unite Solana: If someone wants a small house all the power to them, there's no obligation to build a big home, but it's the elimination of the right to build a larger home that I tend to have a problem with.
Chambers doesn't plan on building a bigger house on his lot. He says this fight is over individual property rights.
Chambers: To have somebody impose new sets of rules when I understood what the rules were when I bought my house doesn't seem right.
The city admits to being in a bit of a hurry to get this ordinance passed. Councilman Dave Roberts says there have already been a number of the so-called McMansions built near the beach. And there seems to be no end to the number of people who want and can afford large homes with coastal views.
Roberts: We currently have an application coming into the city for an almost 11,000 square foot home and 7,000 square foot home on a lot. We also just heard an application for a 9,000 square foot home that was down-sized.
The cities of Coronado and Del Mar have also grappled with limiting building sizes on beach properties. And Roberts says he's had calls from city leaders on the East Coast and elsewhere, all wanting to know whether the new ordinance will pass. It may only affect 900 or so homeowners here in Solana Beach, but the so-called mansionization is happening in neighborhoods around the county and nation.
We should know tomorrow the results but Councilman Dave Roberts says he has heard that the "No" side of this debate has plans to take this to court if they lose today.