An appeal before the California Coastal Commission meeting on September 11 in Eureka against the planned larger home by Mitt and Ann Romney has been postponed. Architect and longtime La Jolla resident Anthony A. Ciani filed his original appeal on July 24, claiming the proposed “McMansion” on the Romneys' .41-acre beachfront lot is illegal under city and state laws and coastal usage policies.
The couple's goal is to demolish their 3009-square-foot house at 311 Dunemere Drive and replace it with an 11,062-square-foot home. Ciani told the Reader that “Romney postponed, not me, which only gives me more time to build my case.” He added that it's not personal. “This is not about Romney; it's about what's right. The issues rule, and I hope Romney's prominence will spotlight the importance of these issues.”
The La Jolla Community Planning Association previously voted to approve the Romney house project. But, Ciani says, “the Romneys claim they own the beach out to the mean high tide line and are using that area to enhance the size of their proposed new house.” Ciani argues that the La Jolla Land Use Plan shows the beach to be “dedicated” or “owned in fee by the City.”
Alexander Llerandi, a program analyst with the California Coastal Commission, told the Reader in an email that “at this time the item has not been formally scheduled for another hearing.” But Ciani said he expects Romney's team to “pack the room with supporters” at the October meeting in San Diego at the Crowne Plaza hotel.
Jill Esterbrooks, spokesperson for District 1 city councilmember Sherri Lightner, who represents La Jolla, said by phone that Lightner “will let the process work its way through.” The Romneys are represented by San Diego attorney and registered lobbyist Matthew Peterson, who specializes in real estate matters. Peterson did not immediately respond to a Reader request for comment.