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Council Rushes Prospect Redevelopment Project to Beat the State

Governor Jerry Brown has set his sights on taking out city redevelopment agencies, and Santee is in a race to develop the Prospect Avenue area.

The managed to meet for a third time this month, with a held on Monday night. And, Santee Patch was the only member of the public in attendance.

So, here's the scoop- the Council moved forward with issuing bonds for up to $30 million that will be used for , namely developing the Prospect Avenue area and projects.

The catch is, the Council is moving at an unprecedented pace with the entire process because has taken a decided stance to do away with redevelopment agencies, which funded the building of such recent Santee projects like and Trolley Square. The City is acting on legislation that is in the air in Sacramento, but yet to come to debate, that would take away the redevelopment agencies ability to enter into contractual obligations and begin new projects, according to Santee City staff.

The City is attempting to beat the passage of this legislation, which won't affect them if they are entered into a binding contract for a project, according to City Attorney Shawn Hagerty.

The City is planning to issue $30 million worth of bonds by Friday and will have projects ready for bidding by March 11.

"I am terrified of the vast pace we are moving at, but happy with the City staff work," said .

To beat the state, the City is getting creative, as a normal bond issuance and project bidding would take until July at the soonest, according to Deputy City Manager and Director of Development Services Pedro Orso-Delgado. The City is now attempting to enter into a binding contract with SANDAG, and contract with them to do the nearly $30 million worth of projects.

These were the proposed projects:

  • Prospect Ave. development
  • North Woodside Ave.
  • Lot assembly on Mission Gorge Rd. east
  • Mission Gorge west revitalization
  • Woodside/Magnolia revitalization
  • Cottonwood sidewalk improvement

When asked by the Council which project the City staff preferred, the staff agreed that the Prospect Avenue area development would bring the City the most "bang for the buck."

Orso-Delgado said that this project would have the huge benefit of being near to Gillespie Field and the new .

The Prospect Avenue project area would include 127 acres that fall between Mission Gorge Road, Cuyamaca Street, Gillespie Field and Magnolia Avenue.

"Most of the area could potentially be developed. Probably 20 percent of existing structure would stay, the rest would likely be leveled and started anew," said Pedro.

"The Prospect project is worth all the risk," said Voepel. "It's one of the projects I got on the Council to get done."

The risk that Voepel is referring to, is the uncertain nature of the pending Sacramento legislation. The City is acting on the best information it can, but the specifics of the legislation could potentially change at anytime, thus throwing a wrench in City plans, according to City staff.

In the end, the Council was advised that, barring a long-shot nightmare scenario, the City will be no worse off for trying to secure the redevelopment funds; if the plan doesn't work, they'd be in the same position as if they'd done nothing.

More details should become available at the March 9 .

Kathy March 02, 2011 at 12:37 PM
I would like definition of the "Affordable Housing". Does this mean low income or Section 8 Housing? If so, then I feel this is the last thing Santee needs. Low Income and Section 8 Housing only lowers the home values in Santee, and could bring in undesirables. The Woodglen Vista Apartments are for Low Income and over the past 22 years, that I know of, have had numerous Law Enforcement Raids for Drugs and Weapons. This is NOT what Santee needs. I would like to see what the City of Santee considers Low Income Housing. I would like to see our Mayor and City Officials, try harder to keep Las Colinas from expanding, actually, removed from our city, would be the ultimate outcome. I know our Mayor talks about improving the area around Las Colinas and even build a hotel, but who wants to be around a prison. Why is it that the East County has to house the criminals? I don't see a prison in La Mesa, Fletcher Hills, Point Loma, La Jolla, Del Mar, yet it's O.K. to have a prison in a relatively small community, Santee.
Janalee Shelton March 02, 2011 at 08:44 PM
First of all, it is not a prison, it is a county jail. Secondly, could you please explain why you feel the need to remove the jail from Santee??? When was the last time something bad happened from having the jail in our town??? How is this such a horrible thing??? The county has to house the criminals somewhere and I fail to see why it matters where it is located? Really, I think people are making a much bigger deal out of this than needs to be.......
Kathy March 02, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Las Colinas houses all classification levels of inmates, from the minor misdemeanor offenses to violent offenses, including murderers (Betty Broderick). LCDF also has a Psychiatric Security Unit. I guess you don't mind having it in your backyard but I do, along with majority of the Santee residents. I agree the county needs to house these animals but let them house them somewhere else away from schools, senior living communities and our children. Just because nothing major has happened yet, doesn't mean you turn a blind eye to it. However, thank you for your opinion, you are certainly entitled to it, as everyone.
Mike March 03, 2011 at 02:52 AM
Not really sure how this became a discussion about the jail, but I'll give my .2 cents. The jail is in a central location since all of the Police agencies book females there. The next nearest booking facility for females is in Vista. I cannot recall any instances of harm to any residents of Santee from an inmate housed at the jail. Escapes from the jail are a rare occurance and when there is an escape, they are normally pre-planned and a car is waiting to take them as far away from Santee as possible. The jail is barely visible from any surface streets and most non-residents couldn't even tell you where it is. The jail is there because the County owns the property. It is unfortunate that the city developed all around the jail and have allowed (Grading has stopped for some reason) a charter school to be built right next to the proposed jail expansion site. I guess then they can say the jail is next to a school too. I would rather the city stop trying to develop every square inch of this fine city and repair the roads instead. A Hotel? Really.....The Mayor is nutz!
sluggo March 03, 2011 at 04:36 PM
I'd love to see a new hotel. There's a lot of small manufacturing companies around Gillespie. Geez, if we listened to the folks who can't say anything besides 'It'll Never Work', we'd never accomplish anything. We gotta keep that American 'can-do' attitude! You go, Mayor!! As for the jail, Las Colinas is a big fat stain on what is otherwise a gem of a city. San Diego should have moved it down to the correctional facility at Otay a long time ago. But who needs efficiency and economy of scale? DOH!!
Mike March 03, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Santee has three hotels now that are never filled to capacity (But are a magnet for drug activity) and I doubt many folks fly into Gillespie to do business along Prospect Ave. Not saying "It'll Never Work", just saying we don't need another hotel. And I do have the "can-do" attitude, it is just for keeping the jail where it is...DOH!!
Melonie March 03, 2011 at 07:10 PM
I feel jail expansion is related to redevelopment. During the decades since 1967 I am not aware of any big issues resulting from having the 15 acre Las Colinas in Santee. I think the main issue is not a NIMBY because frankly, it's already there, but to limit the planned expansion and effects it has on our city. A 45 acre facility next to a day care, senior park, school, apartments and houses? Property values will plummet just as they are beginning to increase. Why did they refuse to look elsewhere? SD Board of Supervisors (minus Jacobs, thank you)voted in June to triple the size and double the capacity of the jail. Eventually 2,000 female inmates could be housed there, including max security felons. This is not a matter of if but when. Construction bids have been submitted, architects hired and contracts awarded. Completion of revamped jail is expected in 2015. All backed by Gov. Brown. (that ensures the AB 900 funds they were hoping for) He wants to do away with local Redevelopment to trim budget but implements "public safety package" disguised to benefit us?? Under this he proposes sending low-level offenders to county jails (thus replacing the women's jail is at the top of the county's infrastructure priority list).Take away our money and give us more criminals? Camouflage the place, hide the stadium lights and razor wire but it still is what it is. Lipstick on a pig comes to mind...
Melonie March 03, 2011 at 07:49 PM
One more thing LOL! :D With current city council against expansion known, I was curious when I read about a settlement agreement reached between Santee and county of SD related to expansion project at Las Colinas and an approved Memorandum of Agreement between County and Santee related to Santee Town Center and environmental impacts. Wondering with a certified EIR for developing town center, we couldn't then say Las Colinas negatively effects environment such as traffic, noise, pollution and other significant areas when virtually they both have the same effect. Dunno! Too much thinking! On a positive note, the jail would bring an extra 2000 jobs they say! I attached a PDF for an interesting read! ;)
Melonie March 10, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Affordable housing means that rents are subsidized for low to moderate-income tenants, usually 30 to 40% of their gross monthly income. There have been a lot of studies on how the affordable housing communities affect the surrounding single family market. One study in-particular concluded: "It is becoming increasingly clear that the fears are ill founded and more emotional than substantive. On all fronts, therefore, we have found little empirical support for arguments against locating lower income housing in predominantly single- family middle-income majority neighborhoods." If done right, scattering the developments vs. clustering them, there shouldn't be any negative impact and actually there is evidence of gains in values. For instance, the recent Cedar Creek project was built in an area underutilized and neglected. Reforming a blighted area will definitely make a positive impact. So the building of subsidized housing can actually increase surrounding values by replacing dilapidated buildings, providing a buffer between single family homes and areas zoned as commercial and the housing can insulate the area from the increased noise of traffic (think of all the new freeways opening this month) while at the same time providing low-income residents with convenient access to shopping, employment opportunities and public transportation. Please see the PDF I uploaded. Albeit dated, it does give a fair conclusion on the impact of property values.
SanteeCitizen April 16, 2011 at 10:21 AM
I agree on moving the Las Colinas facility. Does anyone know the current status? The biggest issue is that they are expanding it from 15 to 45 acres, and with a jail brings other visual cues as to what is nearby, i.e - all the bail bond businesses. Sure, it may be hidden off of Cottonwood Road, but entering into the city onto Mission Gorge road, you are welcomed by bail bond offices. Shouldn't that tell you something? I believe the one on West Mission Gorge has recently closed, but a new one popped up on East Mission Gorge. Maybe this is the same one, and they found a better spot near the Sonic restaurant. Also, someone needs to think of the future of the city, instead of just "today". If Riverview could develop more commercial offices in the complex, this would create more jobs in the area, and more jobs would lead to more people looking for local housing, thereby helping the local real estate industry. Next, many companies utilize corporate jets, and they could fly in and out of Gillespie Field. These corporate visitors would need nice business hotels to stay at, i.e - Marriott Courtyards, Holiday Inn Express, etc. All this will help to drive the local economy. With the 52 extension now open, this makes Santee a prime area to increase the corporate presence. It all takes time, but someone needs to have the longterm view to make it all happen, and a jail in the middle of it all just doesn't make sense, if you have a vision!
SanteeCitizen April 16, 2011 at 10:40 AM
What this this city needs is a grass roots effort to relocate the jail. The only way this will happen is if the community takes a stance. Stop lettting the County Board of Supervisors and everyone else control the situtation. There used to be a website: no jail expansion.com, but it appears it is down and no longer supported. Also, the facebook page hasn't been active: http://www.facebook.com/NoJailExpansion With all the budget issues within the State of California, doesn anyone know if the state has pulled back thier funding of this project? Remember everyone, this is OUR tax money, and our elected officials are just overseeing how it is allocated. If the public stands up strong enough, we can change the outcome.
Brian Thedell April 16, 2011 at 04:06 PM
LOL@SanteeCitizen... forum necromancy
SanteeCitizen April 16, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Brian, whatever it takes... :-) Spirits, Ghosts, etc... Problem is, most people aren't presistent enough, and give up at the first sign of a wall in the way. Seriously though, does anyone know the current status of the city lawsuits, expansion funding, or ?? How about 2,000 jobs due to new, regular businesses in the area versus jail jobs.
Motivated Santee Citizen May 20, 2011 at 10:05 PM
I am sad to say that we are looking at moving out of Santee. The city is not headed in the right direction on a few key issues that I feel will have a negative impact on home values. Get out while I can before the prices get any lower.
Chris September 10, 2012 at 09:29 PM
As a life long resident of Santee(born, schoolled, and resided 39 years--so has my family since 1956) I hold the notion of Las Colinas bringing down the reputation of, the home values, or safety within the city utterly ridiculous. While without researchng the topic I can agree that we may not need the expansion to include all 45 acres, but there is no reason to cause the jail to be moved. As is, its location is optimal being central to the Sheriffs Department and the El Cajon court house. Maybe you want to query El Cajon to move that building out of East County as well. "We're blighted by the sight of bail bonds signs"? For any long term residents, we know that Santee is blighted by THE METH LABS that spring up around the Cottonwood and Railroad areas(we'd been long ago labeled the East County Meth Capitol). You want to tear something down? Tear down those neighborhoods--that blight. Displace those families, disrupt those lives. At the very least you'll bring up your home values. "We don't want undesireables moving in"? What is your definition of 'undesireable'? Lower middle class? The city of Santee is and always will be a lower to middle class community. We are not Mission Valley--nor do we aspire to be. Bring in a hotel? For what? We're neither a waypoint layover between must-travel sites nor a vacation destination in need of providing four star lodgings to those glitterazzis that have to get in a week worth of fishing at Santee Lakes. Get over yourselves.

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