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Special Council Meeting Approves of Redevelopment Projects

The City met again for the second special meeting in two weeks in order to push through redevelopment projects on the table.

The held the second special meeting in two weeks Monday night at 7 p.m., to push through and finalize using the $25 million in .

Six resolutions were presented to the Council, grouped into pairs according to project.

Resolutions one and two dealt with a large pipe that crosses under Mission Gorge Rd. that was abandoned during the Town Center construction. It is now causing buckling on Mission Gorge Rd., which City staff say must be dealt with because they  "don't want another on Mission Gorge." City Council agreed with that statement and passed the resolution unanimously.

It is estimated to cost $234,050, and work will be done at night with minimum lane closure, no road will need to be torn up.

Resolutions three and four dealt with the projects that will take the the brunt of the bond funds, and then some, the $28.5 million and Riverview Improvement Projects. The Riverview portion is a new addition to this project, but the $3.5 million in extra costs are already accounted for and set aside for this specific project, they must be used, or lost.

In order to lock in a binding contract for this project, and hopefully bypass anti-redevelopment agency legislation potentially coming out of Sacramento, Santee is outsourcing with an arm of SANDAG known as SourcePoint. The Council made it very clear that the City staff work closely with SANDAG to ensure that the project is executed correctly.

The project would includ Prospect Avenue being uniformly widened to one lanes ing each direction, one turning lane in middle, sidewalks all the way down, overhead utilities put underground, street parking and landscaping.

"This could become a signature street for the city, with the ," said Councilmember Jack Dale.

The Riverview Improvement would include connecting uncompleted infrastructure in the areas, mostly roads, but the project is "not yet explicitly defined." The projects were passed unanimously by the Council.

Resolutions five and six dealt with units to be put in at 8820 Olive Ln. and 9554 and 9560 Via Zapador. This was the most discussed topic of the night.

There will be a total of 44 units at a total cost of $12.6 million which includes the acquisition of property and street widenings, and comes to $286,000 per unit.

Councilmember John Ryan was uncomfortable with the price of the project, especially when broken down per unit.

The debate heated up with a question about the number of parking spaces that would be included with the housing, which is pegged at 1.5 spaces per unit. A few members of the Council took issue with this, arguing that many of the units have three rooms, and most households have at least two cars these days.

The City staff responded, saying that they meet parking requirements, which are lowered because it is low income housing, is similar to other parking ratios for affordable housing projects in Santee, that 18 of the units have only one room and that it is within reasonable walking distance of the , which they would like to encourage use of.

In the end the Council voted 4-1, with Councilmember John Ryan voting against.

"I think the project is to big for the lot size," said Ryan.

Overall, the Council approved of about $41 million dollars in projects, about 1.5 times Santee's annual General Fund .

"We are moving at the fastest pace in Santee history," said Mayor Randy Voepel.

"I know we are under the gun here, but 20 years down the road someone is going to say, 'You did this.' I want to make sure that I can proudly say, 'Yes I did,'" said Councilmember Rob McNelis.

sluggo March 09, 2011 at 03:32 PM
John Ryan has a point. $246,000 per unit for low cost housing seems extraordinary. When you think about that number, remember that almost half them (18 of the 44) are 1 bedroom. I'm not familiar with what developments typically costs, but I do know there are plenty of 2 and 3 bedroom single family homes available for sale for less that $246,000. So, how does this make sense again?
Melonie March 09, 2011 at 09:24 PM
I could be wrong but I think the per unit cost and overall cost is the price to build (John Ryan's concern):in other words, the monies going to affordable housing not what it will cost the residents as these will be rentals. John Ryan isn't comfortable w/ that portion of the redevelopment funds going to affordable housing. I agree, and it seems to me they could get that overall price WAY down. $286,000 per unit (44 units) is $12,584,000 and covers the acquisition of land, street widening, and building. Is there oil in that there land?
Melonie March 09, 2011 at 10:30 PM
According to the 2008 Affordable Homes Brochure (see PDF), when the Laurel Park Senior Apts. on Buena Vista were built, they used funds from the California Department of Housing and Community Development Multifamily Housing Program, Municipal Bonds, Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program, Deferred Developer Fees, and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Couldn't current housing projects also qualify for these funds as well as through San Diego County HOME/CDBG? County of San Diego announced last September there's $1.8 available for community projects with Santee able to apply for $7 million using HOME Consortium. That would bring the cost down! http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/Portal/News/2010/Aug/081310cdbg.html

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