Castlerock development gets green light

SAN DIEGO – A 430-unit housing development to be built at the San Diego-Santee border near state Route 52 and Mast Boulevard was unanimously approved Monday by the San Diego City Council.

The council also cleared the way for the 203 acres of the Castlerock project — which will include 283 single-family homes, 147 multi-family homes, a four-acre public park, trails and 94 acres of open space — to be annexed by the city of Santee.

Castlerock 2013-09-16 at 5 58 38 PMThe council could have retained the project area within San Diego’s boundaries.

“There are currently no services there,” said Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents the area. “And it would be expensive to expand our services that far.”

City staff recommended allowing annexation because the project will have a greater impact on the East County city, and the location across the street from West Hills High School is far from existing city of San Diego infrastructure.

“I think it makes sense all the way around that Santee provide the services and take the benefits from this project,” said Councilman Sherman.

The Santee City Council and the Padre Dam Municipal Water District still need to approve annexation, which would then go before the Local Agency Formation Commission.

City of Santee Planning Director Melanie Kush told the Council that her city supports annexation of the site, which is north of Mast Boulevard, between Medina Drive and West Hills Parkway.

Upon completion, the development is expected to house more than 1,000 residents. Public speakers who oppose the project told the Council that developer Pardee Homes failed to provide infrastructure, would eliminate a trail, would add traffic and build against open hills that are prone to wildfire.

The company’s Jimmy Ayala countered that Castlerock was a “sensitively designed” project following a decade of planning, that preserves environmental resources and is consistent with the city’s zoning plan. The trail will not be eliminated, he said.

Javier Mainar, chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, said authorities have been concerned for years about fire danger in the area, but the worries were allayed by conditions in the annexation plan.

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