Council approves Rockledge home's construction

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, the board voted 4 to 0, denying Rockledge neighbors' appeal on the development at 2425 S. Coast Hwy., a 7,692-square-foot home.

The neighbors appealed the project due to the size, historical significance of the current home, safety and public access. The council took the Design Review Board's recommendation to go forward with the project with two requirements.

The property owner and applicant, Mark Towfiq, must move the setback two feet to the south, which will increase the space between 2425 S. Coast Hwy. and its neighbor to 15 feet. He also has to use lighter colored concrete so the wall would be more appealing to neighbors. If he complies with both, he can retain his bluff-top deck, which was originally denied.

Design Review Board staff reports said two of the neighbors' issues — the driveway and public access — are private disputes and do not fall in the city's hands.

The current structure, a 1946 house owned by the Bunkalls, is not on the city's inventory of historic structures and the board does not believe it needs further consideration.

In response to the neighbors' concerns about lighting, which they thought would be massive, the board had already addressed reducing lighting.

The appellants repeatedly brought up the home's mass and scale at the meeting. The increased setback and design adjustments, such as pulling the pool closer to the house and adding a privacy screen, were made in consideration of privacy issues, the staff report said.

The neighbors contend that the driveway is a safety issue and provides a fire danger. The board said the Fire Department approved the proposal.

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