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Saturday, July 03, 2004 12:50:38 PM

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Fortuna Ranch developer addresses Planning Commission



Interesting article in the NCTimes:

http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2004/07/02/news/coastal/encinitas/22_59_587_1_04.txt

By: BEN FRUMIN - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS ---- Suzy Brown, the owner and developer of a massive house at 3225 Fortuna Ranch Road in Olivenhain, made an unexpected appearance at an otherwise quiet meeting of the Planning Commission Thursday.

Brown, who said she has been out of the country, addressed the commission weeks after her neighbors flocked to city meetings en masse to voice concern over the plans for the house.

The in-progress structure on Brown's 1.24-acre property is expected to exceed 15,000 square feet.

"I'm building a house and I understand it's very large," Brown said.

The house would be the largest single-family residence in the city, according to Planning Department Director Pat Murphy.

Though many Olivenhain residences are stately homes on multi-acre lots, Brown's project dwarfs them all.

"I really want my neighbors to understand what I'm doing," Brown said. "But it's going to take time."

Many of Brown's neighbors aren't convinced her plans are just for a home ---- largely because of the discovery of a 33-page business plan on the Internet that outlined a 41-bed "addiction-healing center" on the property. Such a use would violate city zoning laws, and city officials have said if such a facility were opened, they would move aggressively to shut it down.

"I assure you that at no time in the past and at no time in the future will I be breaking any rules, any building codes," Brown told the commission, adding: "I do plan on sharing more information," Brown said, "but I'm still in a gathering state right now."

Because the item was not on the agenda, state law prevented the commissioners from responding to Brown or discussing the matter.

When asked after the meeting if the structure would be a single-family home, Brown answered, "I don't know."

When asked when her neighbors and city officials could expect more information about her intentions for the property, Brown said, "When I'm ready. When I know for sure."

Brown said that though "everyone thinks I'm being sneaky," she was trying "to be very sensitive to the neighbors."

The project was originally approved by the city's Planning Department in January. A revised set of plans has since been submitted, with the request to increase the structure's size to 16,394 square feet.

The new plans detail a 23-bedroom, 16-bathroom multi-wing structure connected by numerous corridors and courtyards.

A decision on the modified plans is expected from the Planning Department later this summer.

Residents opposed to the project have posted a Web site at www.nomonsterhouse.org.

Contact staff writer Ben Frumin at (760) 943-2313 or bfrumin@nctimes.com.

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