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Fanita Ranch Update

Post Date:01/16/2020 8:00 AM

The City of Santee is currently processing a development application for a master planned community in the Fanita Ranch area of Santee consisting of up to 2,949 housing units with a school, or 3,008 units without a school, up to 80,000 square feet of commercial uses, parks, open space, and agriculture uses (“Fanita Ranch Project”).  The location of the project site and the proposed site plan can be viewed using the links below.  The Santee General Plan identifies Fanita Ranch as Planned Development (PD).  The applicant is proposing a General Plan Amendment and a Specific Plan to designate the Fanita Ranch Project Specific Plan (SP).  The complete application can be viewed at the City of Santee Development Services Department (Building 4) during normal business hours.

Development Plan History

Prior to the currently proposed Fanita Ranch Project, the most recent application for development on the project site was filed in 2005.  At that time, a Tentative Map and Development Review Permit application was submitted to build four villages containing 1,380 single-family dwelling units, 15 live-work units, commercial and mixed use space, parks, and open space.  The City Council certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and approved the project in 2007.

From 2008 through 2012, the approvals were subject to litigation.  Ultimately, portions of the 2007 EIR related to biological resources and water supply, as well as a Revised EIR on the single issue of fire safety adopted by the City in 2009, were found inadequate. (See Preserve Wild Santee, et al. v. City of Santee, et al. (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 260; Preserve Wild Santee, et al. v. City of Santee, et al., San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2009-00097042-CU-TT-CTL.)  In 2013, the City set aside the certification of the 2007 EIR and 2009 Revised EIR and vacated related project approvals.  The 2007 and 2009 EIRs can be viewed using the links below.

In August 2018, the current owner of the property, HomeFed Fanita Rancho, LLC and JWO Land, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of HomeFed Fanita Rancho, LLC, submitted a complete application that modifies the project as described above.

CEQA Process and Public Input

The CEQA process includes several opportunities for members of the public, agencies, and Native American tribes to provide input on the draft Revised EIR and the modified Fanita Ranch Project prior to City Council’s consideration of the proposed Fanita Ranch Project.  Once the application was deemed complete, the City issued a Notice of Preparation (“NOP”) for the draft Revised EIR.  The NOP can be viewed using the link below. The NOP provides a detailed description of the proposed project including the development concept, parks, trails and recreational facilities and regional trail connectivity, habitat preserve and open space areas, on-and off-site improvements, grading, public services and utilities and development phasing.  The NOP solicits input on the scope and content of the environmental information for the draft Revised EIR that is being prepared by the City.  The 30-day period for input on the scope and content of the draft Revised EIR extended from November 10, 2018 to December 10, 2018.  A public scoping meeting was held on November 29, 2018 at City Hall to inform the public about the project and to also solicit input on the scope of the draft Revised EIR.

The City is in the process of preparing a draft Revised EIR evaluating the modified project and specifically addressing the portion of the prior environmental analysis for the project approved in 2007 that was found inadequate.  The Revised EIR will address the environmental issues identified in the NOP.

Once the draft Revised EIR is complete, the document and supporting technical studies will be available for a 45-day public review period.  At the completion of the 45-day public review period, the draft Revised EIR will be finalized.  The City Council will consider the Final Revised EIR in determining whether to approve the modified Fanita Ranch Project.  A diagram of the EIR public input process is provided using the link below.

Developer Funding

With all large project applications, developers or their representatives provide funding to reimburse the City for staff time and expenses incurred under professional service contracts specifically related to the project.  Staff time and professional service contracts for the Fanita Ranch Project are funded by the developer rather than the City’s General Fund.

A workshop will be held on the topic of public safety at the February 12, 2020 City Council meeting.  The presentation will be posted here when it is completed.

The October 23, 2019 City Council workshop included a presentation addressing parks, trails, and open space prepared by City staff as well as one prepared the applicant.

The September 11, 2019 City Council workshop presentation addressed transportation and circulation.

Additional resources: 

If you have any questions or comments regarding the Fanita Ranch Project, please contact the project planner:

Doug Thomsen, Senior Planner
Development Services Department
City Hall, Building 4
10601 Magnolia Avenue
Santee, CA 92071
(619) 258-4100, Ext. 205

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