LOS ANGELES Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, can demolish their beachfront home in a tony enclave near San Diego and build a larger 11,000-square-foot replacement, the California Coastal Commission ruled on Friday.
A neighbor of the Romneys had sought to block the project on the grounds that the couple's property in La Jolla was too small to justify a house of that size, under regulations determining the ratio between lot and house sizes, according to documents before the commission.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was estimated during his 2012 presidential campaign to have a net worth of up to $250 million.
The Coastal Commission voted 7-4 at a meeting in San Diego to deny the appeal and allow the project to go forward, said Sarah Christie, spokeswoman for the panel.
The Romneys' neighbor had contended the couple had wrongly claimed a sandy beach area as part of their property to win approval for a larger house than they would otherwise be allowed to build, the commission report said.
Coastal Commissioner Greg Cox said the Romneys' proposed house will not be "intrusive or blocking the views that people have right now," according to a report from the City News Service.
The couple's current house in La Jolla measures 3,100 square feet (288 square meters), Christie said. The planned home is approaching three times the size of the existing home, and will have two stories and a basement.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)