"It’s always frustrating to get a building permit on the ocean,"Ann Romney says, showing that the many months she spent on the campaign trail with her husband helped her relate to the average American. For more than two years Mitt and Ann Romney have been planning to tear down their tiny 3,000-square-foot La Jolla, California fixer-upper and replace it with a 11,000-square-foot McMansion, complete with car elevators. They're so close — if only one pesky former-neighbor would leave them alone.
Anthony Ciani, a California architect who once lived on the same oceanfront street as the Romneys, has filed an appeal with the California Coastal Commission, the Los Angeles Times reports on Friday. Though the San Diego Planning Commission approved the home in June, the Coastal Commission has final say and will meet later Friday. (Update: McMansion is a go! The California Coastal Commission said the Romney's can build their dream home, reports Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times.) Ciani claims that the Romneys are claiming public beach property as their own, inflating the size of their land from 12,000 to 18,000 square feet.
Opinion is split among the locals. La Jolla is a wealthy neighborhood, but even rich people don't like flashy rich people. In June 2012 one of Romney's neighbors, a Democrat, told The New York Times, that "the only thing [Romney] wants small is government and taxes... He likes big houses, big families and big religion." And last month three of the Romneys' neighbors on Dunemere Drive wrote to the San Diego Planning Department to complain about the mega-mansion, arguing that it was "not consistent with the character of the street," and "disproportionately larger than any other house on Dunemere Drive." Remember, these are all million-dollar beachfront homes — Ciani sold his own Dunemere home for $3.5 million last year.
On the other hand, the San Diego staff of the Coastal Commission thinks Ciani is full of it, and recommended that the Commission approve the home. Some people think it's just liberals being annoying. "The neighbors whose letters you mentioned didn’t vote for Gov. Romney and in fact represent the radical left wing," David Sear, who lives around the corner and assisted the Romney campaign in 2012, told the Los Angeles Times.
But really, everyone against the Romneys is probably just jealous. And they should be, because Casa de Romney 2.0 (that's just a suggestion—it's current Spanish name is Fin de la Senda, or End of the Road) sounds pretty legit. As we mentioned last year, there will be an outdoor shower and a separate elevator for cars. Also, those 11,000 square feet would be spread over three floors. "The main floor will have 4,681 square feet, the second floor 1,790, and the subterranean portion 4,591," according to the Times. The Romneys probably still won't let you smoke pot on the beach outside their home, but they'd have enough room to throw some wild parties. This could be a win-win for everyone.
(Romney at his La Jolla home via AP Photo.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.