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City Pursuing a Theater in Riverview Development

CIty staff and council discussed a new proposal for developing housing, shopping, a theater and even a college near Town Center.

Just north of Trolley Square lies two plots of land just waiting to be developed- and the City of Santee is looking to fill the void with all sorts of stuff, including housing, shopping, a and even a college (see conceptual maps in the media box).

One of the main discussions at the concerned concepts and ideas circulating around how to develop the Riverview site; the campus is the only occupant now.

A plan for the Riverview area was put forward in 2006, and applications for building residential housing were submitted to the city in 2007 and 2008, but the applications were withdrawn due to the economic slump in 2008, according to Till.

The issue of developing on the site wasn't brought up again until last week's , where a new proposal was shown.

City Manager Keith Till laid out a summary of ideas being proposed, and asked the council to consider if these development concepts are consistent with the Riverview Plan envisioned in 2006.

That plan included "a mixed-use area that will include both high density residential as well as a regional entertainment complex."

The plan also includes a "strong pedestrian connection established between Trolley Square, all three portions of the mixed use development and the .”

The new proposal includes 190 apartments on the 6.7 acre plot, which could be up to a five story building and 28 units-per-acre density. This area would be mixed-use with theater, office and residential components, which rings true with the original concept of a "residential area envisioned as a high-density, urban environment."

The city is seriously considering allowing a private college to develop on the 12 acre parcel, including classrooms, possible student housing, an athletic complex.

The city won't confirm that the private college in discussion is San Diego Christian College, which earlier this year . Mayor Randy Voepel was against this idea at that time, and said the nonprofit would not be a good fit because it would not generate necessary  for the city. But, he was absent at the meeting due to vacation.

Till did confirm that the city is currently "pursuing a theater" as part of the development.

Till indicated that the presentation was meant to update the council and gain their approval to move forward with the concepts in discussion.

"We can't act on anything specific, because we don't have anything specific," said Till. 

Amongst those unspecific ideas, outfitting the new development with is being discussed.

Councilmember made it clear that "developers must seamlessly collaborate to make a unique, uniform project." He also added that he's not interested in dormitory type living to be developed.

Councilmember and real estate agent said he doesn't like the idea of more than 300 residential units and that he wants to see shops on the bottom floor and mixed use throughout.

"The last thing I want is something that looks like project housing," he said.

The council decided the proposal and concepts should move forward, with updates as the proposed development changes.

Carla July 19, 2011 at 12:41 AM
I think this is a great idea. Be positive people instead of negative. It sounds like it will be a more "hip" housing area with shops below, theater and possible restaurants. Doesn't sound like low income housing to me. I just hope they link a walking path with the new YMCA park development.
Alan Stuart July 19, 2011 at 01:51 AM
It sounds like it could be good if our city council did it right, and only if they did it right. With that said I kinda of agree with "SafeSantee." It is good to have cities designed to have people live where they work and shop. Industrial parks just cause traffic jams. Everyone going and leaving work at the same time. Having people live, work and shop will promote walking and biking which is what this city and the world needs more of. It'll be interesting to see what happens to say the least. I'd like to see the whole project built to the highest LEED Standards. Recycled/Sustainable materials, efficient recycling collections, powered by renewable energy the whole deal! That is what the city council should push for http://permaculture.org.au/2011/07/12/letter-to-mr-steve-jobs-apple-inc/
Motivated Santee Citizen July 19, 2011 at 01:52 AM
I don't like the idea of apartments, but condos where the population owns the unit and an interest in the complex is fine as it is not such a transient population as renters.
Kathy July 19, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Theater: Fantastic but had difficulty supporting the previous one College: Good, even if it is a Christian College, revenue for the city from Students Housing: Absolutely no, we have enough in Santee Santee Sheriff Station: Sheriffs deserve larger and more modern station Dancing Night Club for 18 - 21 yrs: We need more for our teens to do. Miniature Golf / Bowling / Family Entertainment Park: Great, we need one
Motivated Santee Citizen July 19, 2011 at 02:15 AM
Great idea Kathy about putting the Sheriff's station right down in the middle of where most of the activity is. Probably will deter some crime. I don't want anymore high density housing either, but our City Council will approve that one for sure. They see tax dollars and nothing else. $$$$ No hotels, no college, sorry Kathy, no jail and more big name brand stores that will bring in people to spend their money in Santee and give us a better selection of stores to shop from. Stater Bros, Ralphs, Trader Joe's, etc.
Kathy July 19, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Then it is time for the Santee Residents to get the right people on the City Council and a Mayor who knows how to benefit Santee. The housing will only give us Property Tax dollars but nothing else, especially if it is low income housing. People who live in low income housing, don't live there by choice, they live there because they have LOW INCOME, therefore have no extra money to spend. Please tell me our City Council has enough brains to see that. My other options, other then the Sheriffs Station will bring in additional income to our City. After all, isn't that we are trying to do, is increase our City Revenue,
Motivated Santee Citizen July 19, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Many great points Kathy, especially the one aqbout low income housing. I thought that Santee is "the Jewel of East county"? Why put low income apartments in a jewel of a city? As for the City Council; Isn't the Cedar Creek low income housing (projects) development here in Santee on Fanita Minto's baby?
Kim Cook July 19, 2011 at 05:51 AM
The apartment complex with housing sounds cool and hip and modern for Santee. I agree, I would like to see walking/biking paths linking the shopping centers and the Sports Complex/YMCA. More teen friendly activities is absolutely a plus, we need that badly. Even if it is a small theater rather than some 18 plex, that is a good idea. So is a bowling alley/ minature golf, and even roller skating/lazer tag again. A dance place for 18 or even 17 y;ear olds to 20 or 21 would be good, with NO ALCOHAL served at all. A small college would be nice. I like most of the idea mentioned. Another suggestions I have is another community pool. Or for Santee Lakes to make one of the lakes a swimming lake in the future. We have the weather for it!!
Kim Cook July 19, 2011 at 05:54 AM
P.S. It would be nice to see the city put in a score board on both football fields and some bleachers for them so we could play games there and tournaments. (And above, I meant I liked the cool apartments with shopping underneath, or some of the other teen friendly ideas mentioned. )
Apatton July 19, 2011 at 01:44 PM
I second the score board and bleachers for the football fields!! :)
Alyssa Burley July 19, 2011 at 03:38 PM
It sounds like a great idea to give teens a dance club, but limiting the venue to such a specific age range is likely to ensure it will never be approved. Let's take a look at Santee's demographics: only 4.4% of the population is 15-17, 3.1% is 18-19, and 8.1% is 20-24 yrs old. The 20-24 age group would need to be included in order for anyone to seriously consider the idea. Though, I don't think 21-24 yr old adults are really going to want to hang out with a bunch of teenagers. So, I doubt this suggestion would ever become a reality unless our future teen popluation increases and/or teens from surrounding cities are willing to come to Santee to dance. 2010 Santee: 15-17 2,554 (4.4%) 18-19 1,782 (3.1%) 20-24 4,674 (8.1%) http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/city16est.pdf 2010 El Cajon: 15-17 4,488 (4.5%) 18-19 3,112 (3.1%) 20-24 6,787 (6.8%) http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/city5est.pdf 2010 La Mesa: 15-17 1,912 (3.3%) 18-19 1,298 (2.2%) 20-24 3,167 (5.4%) http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/city9est.pdf 2010 Lakeside: 18-24 1,996 (23.8%) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakeside,_California#Demographics
Hanna House July 19, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Great news about the theater! It's one of the things we really need out here.
Alan Stuart July 20, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Santee is town that closes at 10pm. After that there is nothing for teens to do, that's why they are on drugs. If you give teens somewhere safe to hang out that does not feel like somewhere they are constantly being supervised they'll hang out there. I have seen hoards of teens hanging inside and outside of Frubble over by Pathways Church at 12:30 at night! And that's how it should be, Mark is a great guy and that is a great place for teenagers to go be themselves and be safe. Obviously people are still all pushing their own agenda about what should be there but again I wanna push my own and say that whatever this development becomes it should be built sustainably. With a "green" shopping/living/entrainment center in Santee [and hopefully that idea spreads to other aspects of life in Santee] maybe we can be known as 'Greentee' and get away from that 'Klantee' name everyone else calls us
Kathy July 20, 2011 at 01:19 AM
Alan, I have very mixed feelings on the "Green" aspect. I have no problem as long as the cost is no higher then just building it. I would like to see more places for Teens to go to, that is why I made some of the suggestions that I did. I don't necessarily agree with Alyssa's figures, as I have seen a much higher percentage of Teens, then she states. Perhaps it is due to where I live, over by Santana H.S. There is currently no where for the Teens to go in Santee except for Frubble and it is basically just a smoothie and sometimes music. Whatever might be decided for Teens, it needs to be made affordable. Teens are interested in doing physical activities, not just sit around and listen to music. Alan, I really don't think Santee is referred to, as Klantee, since we have many ethnicities and cultures in Santee, at least I hope not.
Doug Curlee July 20, 2011 at 03:24 AM
alan.. that's a dangerous generalization on your part..i've seen teens..and others.. walking around town center or strip malls and fast-food joints loaded to the eyes at 10 in the morning..time of day or night has little to do with drug use and abuse.. doug
Mariah July 20, 2011 at 04:57 AM
I hope no one takes offense to this, but I hope Santee doesn't turn into a mini El Cajon. I don't think additional low income housing will benefit the city -- I lived next to "low income" housing in Santee for years and the police were there every day it seemed, sirens ablaze; usually some drug OD. Drive through the lot and you'll find NICE, expensive cars and shady people. This has just been my experience. I'd like to see a small theater and/or bowling alley, but no college. We're so close to Cuyamaca, Grossmont, and SDSU: why add another college to the mix? I'll support entertainment/family recreation, though.
Motivated Santee Citizen July 20, 2011 at 06:30 AM
Why are all of these teens out after curfew? Even if building green costs more initialy it will pay for itself in the long run and have less negative impact on the environment.
Alan Stuart July 20, 2011 at 07:33 AM
Thanks Motivated Santee Citizen for understanding why i was saying that! Putting solar panels on a roof top WILL definitely cost more Kathy but if there were large collections of them all over the new development, it would pay for itself. The same is true for passive solar design and efficiency built into it, those might cost more in the design stage but in the construction it won't, and it will have a negative impact while being used. @Doug what i was saying about 10pm is that after that time there is nowhere for kids to go and that's why they are drugs, < 20 year olds have little choices. But I also mentioned their aren't any places kids can go to have fun in Santee either (I'm sure you might deny that but you are not a kid..)
Alyssa Burley July 20, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Regardless of whether you agree with the figures or not, that is what they are according the U.S. Census Bureau for 2010. They can be found on the San Diego Associated Governments (SANDAG) website and the City of Santee website. I'm sure that it seems as though there are more teens than what is reported to the Census Bureau because of your proximity to Santana High School, but none the less, it is what it is. Please understand that it is not that I am against providing a safe place for teens to hang out; I am pointing out that all facts must be taken into consideration before making a decision solely on feelings and perceptions.
Jeni Reynolds July 20, 2011 at 03:03 PM
I agree with those that say “if done right” this could be a great project for your city. Selfishly, I would love to see a theater added and I agree that our young people need places to hang out – like a city pool or dance club. Although, I not completely sold that a under 18 dance club would be the solution we are looking for … alcohol/drugs can always be used before kids enter and it could create more chaos than good … but the idea of creating a positive place for our kids to hang out is great. All that said, I hope the local Chamber of Commerce is involved on some level since I seem to read every day about another Santee business going under!!! The main reason, besides the down economy, seems to be that Santee has a hard time getting folks outside Santee to drive into town and spend money. It is for this reason that I’m agreeable with the idea of adding condos/housing. The idea of a modern/hip place for folks to live and play sounds like a great addition to our city. I also agree – would love to see bike, walk, run paths and a way to get to the town center sports fields, YMCA, sports complex and tower center shopping mall.
Alyssa Burley July 20, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Excellent point, Motivated Santee Citizen. According Munciple Code 9.44.030 Curfew for juveniles, they cannot be in a public place between 10pm - sunrise unless they are supervised. I'm pretty sure "haning out" with friends at a dance club doesn't comply with the munciple code. Full Munciple Code 9.44.030 Curfew for juveniles can be found here: http://qcode.us/codes/santee/
Jeni Reynolds July 20, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Thanks, Alyssa for adding some data to the discussion. Always useful when forming opinions and making decisions.
Motivated Santee Citizen July 20, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Why would anyone that does not live here come and do business here except if there is no other option of where to go as say in the case of Costco and residents of El Cajon, Alpine, etc? Santee is easier than ever to access now with the trolley and the highway 52 extension open now, but Santee still has an east county hick type reputation and I am sorry to say but it is a deserved reputation as Santee still has a lot of the old Santee types living here. Santee is on the right track in a lot of ways, but a couple of things that are pretty major need to change in order for Santee to step up to the likes of a city deserving to be called "the La Jolla of East County".
Kim Cook July 30, 2011 at 03:55 AM
I have a money making idea for Santee, how about a water park? If we can't swim in the lake, and there is only 1 public pool in Santee, at the YMCA, how about an EAST COUNTY water park? Soak CIty in East Lake seems to do well and it would give the kids, even the teens, a fun place to hang out, while also attracting new income into the city. We all know how hot it is out here!! PLUS, it is a great place to hold special city events planned for teens only, (a teen night), or special family events. Just saying.....
Kim Cook July 30, 2011 at 03:56 AM
P.S. also if they added a performing stage of some sort we could have music events, cheer competitions, unlimited ideas!!!!
Kathy July 30, 2011 at 06:02 AM
I love the idea but Santee could not handle the traffic properly, especially if the main route would be Mission Gorge Rd. I also don't think the City could afford the Liability Insurance, either.
DDAMM July 31, 2011 at 01:12 AM
The people in this city are a riot some times, we want things for kids to do but instead were tearing down a place that these kids gather to build a new building for the same old store(henerys) and thats a priority over these "kids that have nothing to do," and we cant have a ski park bc once again the people hear need absolute peace and quite bc they live in a city, the problem is tho that these kids wind up being our future. also do we really need to move these big box overly wastefull dont really give a hoot about the enviorment stores into a green complex? It really doesnt make sense to me.
Alan Stuart July 31, 2011 at 05:59 AM
it they are a going to come to Santee either way might as well make them do it as "green" as possible don't you think?
Motivated Santee Citizen August 02, 2011 at 02:13 AM
Many big name stores and companies are already covering their roofs with solar panels as a "green" start. Building an entirely new set of buildings for the Henry's Market and others in that complex is called eradicating urban blight. Santee looks so much better than it used to because of this eradication and redevelopment program. There is still much too much urban blight left in Santee to yet be called The Jewel or La Jolla of east County though. I did not have anything to do after 10 p.m. when I was a teenager and I never turned to drugs or alcohol. In fact I turned out just fine and am actually quite civic minded and want to help my community become a better place to live. So, Chula Vista can afford the liability insurance for a water park, but Santee can't? I thought the water park in Chula Vista was privataley owned anyway. It does not matter though, because they would not be able to afford the water prices here in Santee anyway. LOL
suzy March 26, 2013 at 05:15 AM
Theater would be great! A hospital would be great! Some type of family entertainment would be great. back in the day we had the skating rink and the movie theater, now if u have kids they have to go to el cajon or grossmont in la mesa to see a movie and hang out with friends. I don't like that there is not much to do here, makes me think about relocation. Let's get with it santee!!

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