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Hearing set for June 25; some neighbors are teed off

By Mike Allen

Photo: Augie Scalzitti at his home on Inverness Road looking at the Carlton Oaks Golf Course

June 15, 2024 (Santee) -- Augie Scalzitti is enjoying the good life in Santee, gazing from his deck to a stunning, clear view of the nearby Fortuna peaks and hills at Mission Trails Regional Park.

But that view will be dramatically altered if a proposed residential development for the Carlton Oaks Golf Resort that abuts his house on Inverness Road goes forward.

He points to a fence beneath his deck where trees and shrubs make up the “rough” part of Carlton Oaks’ carefully manicured 18-hole course. “They’re going to have to build that up about 10 feet, and the two-story homes will be another 30 feet above that,” he said. “When it’s done, I’ll be able to see into (future homeowner’s) bathroom.”

This week neighbors all around the course received official notice from the city of Santee of the golf course plan proposed by owner John Chen and partner Lennar Homes to build 243 single family homes at two sites along the northern border of the course. Additionally, the plan calls for a resort complex made up of a 42-room hotel, 10 cottages, and other amenities at the east side of the 165-acre site.

The notice gives affected residents the chance to provide comment on the project that may be viewed online at[1] . The city’s planning department has scheduled a public scoping meeting June 25 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Santee City Hall, 10601 Magnolia Ave. to give more information about the project.

The project is scaled down from what was originally proposed by Chen about five years ago when he was seeking to build some 300 homes along with a 126-room hotel, and an 88-unit assisted living facility on the golf course, regarded as the best in East County.

That project submitted plans to the city but not a formal request for all the necessary permits. The owner is banking on borrowing rates falling over the next few years to make the homes more marketable, Scalzitti says.

“It’s not that much smaller,” he says. From the planned map, Scalzitti shows where his home is at the corner of the western segment of the project, effectively blocking his views to the south and west. He said the owner’s representative told him he could just turn his head and look eastward instead of west.

It’s not just going to affect his views, he says. “This is going to create more traffic for everybody in this city, more traffic for El Cajon and other areas.”

Another negative impact will be the loss of open space, which was supposedly off-limits to new development in the city’s general plan, Scalzitti said.

“They want to put all this residential housing on open space, so they’re going to have to change the general plan,” he said, adding that a good deal of the houses will be built in a flood plain. “Who the hell builds on a river bottom? This seems like a lot of problems in the making.”

Efforts to get added information about the plans were unsuccessful. Chen’s representative, Mike Aiken, a director of the golf club, referred ECM’s inquiries to another person, who never responded to questions.

To several questions about the plans, including when the project will be reviewed by the City Council, and its estimated completion, a Santee planner said those questions will be addressed at the scoping meeting.

She did say the project requires the sign-off from eight public agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Because the golf course straddles both the cities of Santee and San Diego, it adds a layer of complexity. Some 100 acres are in Santee, and the remaining 65 acres are in San Diego.

Santee has proved to be a fertile ground for new housing in recent years. For the current fiscal year that ends June 30, Santee’s planning department has issued more than 1,500 building permits for new residential structures valued at about $23 million, according to the city’s budget that was released last week.

Among the five residential projects under construction, Prospect Estates II, consists of 38 condominiums and 15 single family houses. The single family houses start at $1.2 million.

The city is also building two new hotels, one under construction, and one planned for the Town Center Trolley Square that is to be the keystone for the city’s arts and entertainment district.

But the largest planned development, Fanita Ranch, remains mired in uncertainty despite the City Council approving it twice, most recently in 2022. When a judge ordered the city to rescind approvals because of a deficient environmental report, the Council did so. Then the Council removed the project from a public referendum. Fanita Ranch calls for 2,949 residential units.



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I have the same thought. It applies to housing homeless people as well. More homes need to be built, even expensive ones.


please tell me why is it ok for the "not in my back yard" people to get their home and no one else is permitted to get theirs?