Santee council OKs controversial Fanita Ranch development

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SANTEE, Calif. – Santee City Council Wednesday approved a development agreement with the owners of the planned Fanita Ranch master-planned community despite opposition from some residents.

The development, slated for a nearly 2,700-acre plot of undeveloped land in Santee, is expected to include 3,000 homes as well as parks and other public amenities including orchards, a community farm and vineyards. Plans for the project were approved on a 4-1 vote by the body in a Sept. 24 meeting after nearly six hours of deliberations.

Home Fed Fanita Rancho LLC, the project’s developer, said Fanita Ranch would bring in new revenue to the city. The company also has plans for freeway improvements and expanded roads in the area to ease some traffic congestion.

“It’s a complete masterfix plan that brings in a new school, a new fire station, beautiful new amenities like parks and trails and open space,” said Halé Richardson, vice president for HomeFed Corp.

But opponents of the project say it still will bring unwanted traffic to the area.

“This project does not fully mitigate the negative impacts to traffic, air quality, noise, biodiversity,” said Patti LaBouf with Preserve Wild Santee. “It’s a huge negative impact for the citizens of Santee.”

Among those impacts, according to LaBouf, are the thousands of additional miles driven on local roads due to the projects.

“Santee roads can not absorb this many vehicles,” she said.

Richardson said the company has “tried to be very responsive to that concern,” including in the project requirements to improve streets and enhance state Route 52.

“(We’re) working with the local coalitions for traffic to bring on development of the 52 and enhancement expansion before residents ever move into the project,” Richardson said.

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