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Santee Council OKs Property Seizures for Widening of Prospect Avenue

The public hearing included pleas from a family in Santee for 50 years and might have to move. Eminent domain power is approved.

The City of Santee now has the power to use eminent domain to forcefully purchase properties if necessary in order to complete the Prospect Avenue Widening Project.

The Santee City Council voted unanimously at the July 10 meeting to give the city eminent domain power after a public hearing on the matter that included comments from a Santee family that felt burdened because they would lose their home of 50 years.

"Santee takes eminent domain very seriously," said Mayor Randy Voepel. "It's someone's property; its their life."

According to the city, the successful completion of the Prospect Avenue Widening Project requires that the city acquire privately held land. The city is currently negotiating purchasing prices with land owners, but eminent domain gives the city more leverage. Dozens of properties on nine streets are affected.

"This resolution is not the end of negotiations, simply a legally required action to move the project forward," said city staff.

Staff also said that when negotiations are done under threat of eminent domain, the landowner gets some benefits.

According to the city, four properties would need to be purchased in total, permanent easements would be needed on 29 properties, and 66 temporary construction easements are needed.

Santee Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Olsen shared business concerns with the council, including reduction of parking spaces in the area, many businesses in the area rely heavily on street parking, and to make sure business access is open during construction.

Gloria Duff spoke during public comments, her family's home of 50 years is one of four the city would like to completely take.

"As a family we are being hindered by this… our situation is difficult… we've been loyal santee residents for more than 50 years and the city is looking to take that property for this project," she said.

Duff said their house was paid for, the family took second mortgage for remodels recently, but wouldn't get enough money to buy a house in the area.

"We don't want to leave. My family has been here since there were cow pastures, and now it looks like we'll need to move out of town."

Once the project is completed, the sidewalk would be situated five feet from their house.

The city agreed to discuss alternatives to taking their property.

"We always have to look at the greater common good over the individual, which sounds like communism to me, and I'm not a fan of eminent domain myself," said Voepel.

The project is expected to be completed in December 2014.

Joe Spencer July 23, 2013 at 07:28 PM
So if Mayor Voepel is "not a fan" of eminent domain....did he vote against it during the meeting?
Steven Bartholow (Editor) July 23, 2013 at 09:16 PM
No, it was a unanimous vote for eminent domain power
santee citizen July 23, 2013 at 11:07 PM
this city is turning into a smaller san diego who's priorities are miss directed. why is prospect ave more important then extending mast? why is prospect ave more important the resurfacing streets? look at Jeremy north of mast it has turned into a cobblestone street. or look at mast and magnolia where the gas and electric has dug up the road and left it so bumpy we will need new suspensions in a short time. you can not even email the city any more they just trash the emails I was told to call so they do not have a paper trail. unbelievable!!!!!
Len McFadden July 24, 2013 at 03:55 AM
I feel for the folks affected by this but they had to know it was coming. No amount of money can replace a families memories in that house or on that land. At least the property values are increasing and they will receive a fair amount for it. Still sucks.
Sleepless in Santee July 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Let me say the trucks are a serious matter. We are looking at moving because of trucks using Mission Gorge to access the 52 east off Fanita. There are laws preventing this activity. However laws are only good if they are enforced. Lots of City revenue goes out the window daily as these law breakers continue to illegally use our streets. I have become very disappointed in our local law enforcement in many areas and with the City cutting the number of officers things are not looking to improve anytime soon. So a new City may just be the only answer for us. Maybe one that doesn't prompt transients.
Jen July 24, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Losing a home, however it may occur, is never easy. Eminent domain, natural disaster, financial disaster, etc. But, since the article's author highlighted Gloria Duff and her property... I thought it might be helpful to point out the facts, so we don't pull on anyone's heartstrings - Gloria's property is on a lot of land designated as "Stevens and Hartley's Free Water Tract" and her property butts directly up to Prospect. Based on the "County Assessor's Map" with notes dating between 1973 - 1985, there are SIX neighboring property lines that have already been adjusted for the street widening. SEVEN properties on her map (County Assessor's book 384, page 19) that will be affected by the street widening. THREE of those seven properties are residential, ONE being Gloria Duff's. This "neighborhood" is zoned as IG or General Industrial. Most ALL of the properties in this area are commercial AND have built their structures while taking the street widening into consideration. While losing your property is difficult, it is not news to Gloria Duff. If the property in question has been in her family for over 50 years, as she said, she knew that the street was to be widened. Still, even knowing that, she spent the money to add on and remodel the original home. I'm not downplaying the severity of losing a home. But I am stating that Gloria Duff knew her property would be affected by the street widening at early as 40+ years ago. As we ALL know, these projects are planned out many years in advance (ie SR-52) and take even longer to be constructed. It's not like the City is acting irrational or creating some unfathomable project. It was decided decades ago and the time has finally come to start work.
Komfort July 24, 2013 at 07:05 PM
2013-1973="over 50"
Komfort July 24, 2013 at 07:07 PM
"40+" is always greater than 50+
Things I Learned July 24, 2013 at 07:33 PM
People should not realize the highest and best use of their property while they are waiting for the government to get off its butt.
mike July 24, 2013 at 09:26 PM
So the rendering doesn't show extra lanes, just wider shoulders with bike lanes. I understand it's never a good situation to evict people from their own land but I'm wondering what Santee really gains from this very expensive project...
Komfort July 24, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Bike lanes for the Preserve Vacant Santee clowns.
santee citizen July 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM
speaking of bike lanes, wait until you see what the council is going to do to town center parkway. three lanes into two, just to add a bike lane. fun times ahead!!! NOT!!!
Komfort July 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Time to put a peddlers tax on bicycle freeloaders. Let them pay for the roads, instead of riding on the backs of big oil pavement for free. Fairness.
Celina Beach July 29, 2013 at 05:06 PM
As someone who would like to be able to ride a bicycle around town in safety, not only for better fitness but to also save gas on inner-city tasks, I live in this town and pay the same taxes as everyone else who lives here. Bicyclists are NOT "freeloaders"!
Komfort July 29, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Then pay for the bike lane yourself.
Things I Learned July 29, 2013 at 05:31 PM
It will build character.
Celina Beach July 29, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Komfort, I do... with the same property taxes YOU pay.
Kathy July 30, 2013 at 03:08 PM
I think we need the Lanes for far more cars then Bikes. I am sure there are other routes that the Bikes can use rather then cause a gridlock because of a Bike Lane. I cannot tell you how many bicyclist I have had to deal with riding in the car land rather than the Bike Lane. Have they not realized that a car weighs far more than their Bikes? I have seen plenty of Bicyclist play chicken with cars in Santee.
Kathy July 30, 2013 at 03:11 PM
There is no need to expand Prospect Avenue, it will only bring more traffic in that area. How dare ANYONE force someone to leave their home! Why don't we force each of the City Council Members out of their home? I moved to Santee to live in a small Family Community, not to have my Community turned into a frick'in Freeway maze.
Santee July 30, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Share the road. Its the law.
Things I Learned July 30, 2013 at 03:36 PM
h tt p://w ww.yo utu be.co m/watch?v=IgMWf8BMa0M

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