By Miriam Raftery
July 15, 2019 (Santee) – Fanita Ranch, the controversial master-planned development proposed in Santee, is seeking to drum up community support through pop-up ads targeting East County residents on the Internet. This reporter had one of the ads pop up while paying an online solitaire game.
The ad claims that Fanita Ranch can “improve traffic” including adding westbound and eastbound lanes as well as a high-capacity onramp at Mast Blvd. The ad clicks open to the website https://fanitaranch.com/improvingtraffic. But project opponents take issue with the advertising’s claims.
The proposed project currently pending before the city of Santee includes roughly 3,000 homes as well as commercial use, parks, open space and possibly a school.
Ironically, increased traffic from thousands of new residents has been one of the biggest objection raised by opponents of the project, who note that State Route 52 and some surface streets in Santee are already gridlocked. The San Diego Regional Association of Governments (SANDAG)’s new regional transportation proposal backtracks off earlier promises to relieve freeway congestion and instead propose funneling more resources into mass transit projects including high speed rail.
Van Collinsworth at Preserve Wild Santee, a vocal opponent of the project, says of the pop-up ad’s promise that Fanita Ranch would improve traffic, “Freeway expansion to facilitate sprawl is a proven failure. That is how we got in the traffic mess that we are in. Note that there is no mention of the cost of the new freeway lane construction. Nor is there any mention of who will pay for it or when. What we know is that both the city and the county are refusing to respect their own general plans and continue to approve sprawl developments that overburden our road infrastructure.”