By Mike Allen
Photo: view of Fanita Ranch site, looking south from State Route 67
September 15, 2022 (Santee) -- Fanita Ranch, the 3,000-unit residential development that has gone through multiple iterations and designs since the city was founded, was approved once again by the Santee City Council after a four and a half-hour meeting Sept. 14.
This approval, on a 4-0 vote with Councilman Rob McNelis recused due to his property benefiting from the project, comes on the heels of the Council’s 2020 approval of the same project. That was followed by a lawsuit from environmental groups, a referendum that put the issue on this November’s ballot, and a court-order rescinding the 2020 approvals due to wildfire evacuation concerns. The Council used the court’s decision to negate its earlier approval and remove the initiative from the upcoming ballot.
Because Fanita Ranch complied with Santee’s Essential Housing Program, a law the city adopted in August 2021, city officials said last night that approval of the new plan presented last night did not entail amending the city’s General Plan, and hence, there is no requirement to hold a public vote.