Coastal Commission to vote on Romney's remodel plans - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Coastal Commission to vote on Romney's remodel plans

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The state Coastal Commission will consider at a meeting in Mission Valley Friday a former neighbor's attempt to stop former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney from demolishing his 3,100-square-foot oceanfront home in La Jolla to build an 11,000-square-foot mansion.

The San Diego Planning Commission's approval of the former Republican presidential candidate's planned redevelopment in June is being appealed to the state Coastal Commission by architect Anthony Ciani, who built and owned a home that sits kitty-corner to Romney's property.

Because Romney's property fronts the ocean, the Coastal Commission has the ultimate say on what can and cannot be built there. Coastal Commission staffers have recommended denying the appeal.

Ciani alleges that Romney and his wife, Ann, wrongly claimed to own the beach in front of their home, thus inflating their lot size from 12,000 to 18,000 square feet in order to build a home that is about 1,000 square feet larger than the city would normally allow, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"If developers and wealthy property owners can hire a surveyor that shows they own the public beach and get a permit to capitalize on that land to build a bigger house than you normally would, it's going to become, `Oh, Mitt Romney did it,"' Ciani told the newspaper. "It becomes a precedent. It's not just La Jolla. It's all of California's beaches that have private property next to them."

Ciani, who sold his home last year and moved to the Carmel area, also alleges that the Romneys have taken over a public sidewalk that runs along their home, unjustly preventing beach access to the public. The Romneys have not commented on the allegations but their attorney, Matthew Peterson, has dismissed them.

"He's misinformed and he's obviously got other motivations, but who knows what?" Petersen said of Ciani.

If approved, the mansion would be two stories over a basement, with a pool, spa, retaining walls and seawall on a lot that is less than a half-acre.

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