The public meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall Wednesday and opponents to the project plan to make a showing, thought the city has made it clear their hands are tied as far as approval of the project.
"San Diego's approval allows it to be built whether it's annexed or not," wrote Till.
At numerous public hearings City of Santee Planning Director Melanie Kush has expressed that Santee supports annexation of the site. The cities of Santee and San Diego have both drawn up "letters of intent" for the annexation.
"The City of Santee must reach its own conclusions on whether and how to approve the project and not act as a rubber stamp for the City of San Diego... The City can require preparation of a subsequent/supplemental EIR," opponent to the project, Preserve Wild Santee, wrote in an email sent Tuesday.
A coalition of local environmental groups led by Preserve Wild Santee recently released new letters (see attached PDFs) in opposition to the project with these comments:
"The Project was forwarded from San Diego even though it violates the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance and the EIR found significant unmitigated impacts to visual resources (landform alteration and public views) and greenhouse gas emissions.
"The EIR is flawed and underestimates the significant impacts to public safety (fire and flood), traffic, public utilities (water supply and energy demand) public services, recreation and biological resources."
Despite claims otherwise, the city of Santee has said it can't impose new conditions on the development now that it has been approved by the city of San Diego.
If the area is annexed to Santee, the city stands to receive a net increase of $102,584 annually to the general fund, according to the meeting agenda.
Under the first of the dual scenarios proposed, the developed portion would be detached from the City of San Diego and annexed into Santee, with most of the open space areas remaining with San Diego as part of Mission Trails Regional Park, according to city staff.
In the second of the options, a 422-housing unit version of the development would remain part of San Diego, officials said.
The project could still be derailed, but not by action of the Santee City Council, according to Till.
"The only question remaining is whether Santee will agree, as San Diego did, that the annexation should proceed. If Santee Council says no, San Diego’s approval stands and they build the project without any of the mitigation benefits that would go to Santee under the annexation scenario," wrote Till. "Of course, projects can always be delayed or derailed. But not by the City of Santee on this one."If the council votes to annex Castlerock, then both the city and Padre Dam Water District would need to file an application with the Local Agency Formation Commission as the next step.
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