Frequently asked questions

Where is Fanita Ranch?

Fanita Ranch is ~2,638-acres of northern Santee stretching adjacent to Mission Trails Park eastern expansion. Fanita stretches from Santee Lakes / Sycamore Creek drainage on the west to Lakeside on the east.

Is Fanita in a fire hazard area?

Yes - Fanita would put over 8,000 people in a Cal Fire designated “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone” - the same area burned by the 2003 Cedar Fire.

How long would it take for Fanita residents to evacuate?

Evacuation is not feasible without hours of early warning. The developer’s “evacuation plan” did not consider likely ignition points and compare fire arrival times with how long it would take to evacuate residents. Nor did they consider the feasibility of conducting evacuation of the project simultaneous with existing neighborhoods that were evacuated during the Cedar Fire.

How large is the proposed subdivision?

The developer seeks approval for 3,008-units without a school and 2,949-units if an elementary school is constructed.

Who pays for the school and how much?

The cost of an elementary school is likely to exceed $70 million according to the Santee School District. The public pays all of the cost except a parcel pledged by the developer.

How much traffic will the Fanita Ranch project produce?

Over 25,000 vehicle trips per day would be added to Santee streets. The Environmental Impact Report concludes the impacts to street segments, intersections and highways are significant and unavoidable.

Who owns Fanita Ranch?

Fanita is controlled by The Jeffries Financial Group of NY who absorbed HomeFed Corporation.

When does the project go to city council for their decision?

Fanita Ranch was approved at the city council meeting on September 23, 2020 with 4 votes in support and Stephen Houlahan being the only no vote.

Haven’t we voted down 3,000-units on Fanita Ranch before?

Yes - residents petitioned to referend a city council approval (put it on the ballot) for a 2,988-unit project in 1999. The project was defeated by the voters in a landslide 2/3 vote.

Haven’t the courts ruled against Fanita Ranch?

Yes - a Superior Court ruled against a second project approved in 2007 by the city council. When the project returned to court - it lost again. When the Superior Court’s decisions were appealed, in 2012, the Appeals Court ruled against the project on issues of fire, water supply and endangered species.

Does endangered wildlife exist on Fanita?

Yes - Fanita has been identified as biological core habitat within the Multiple Species Conservation Plan of San Diego County and serves as a strategic biological linkage to adjacent open spaces. Fanita provides habitat for 21 mammal species, 22 species of reptiles and amphibians, and twenty-nine species of butterflies (including the endangered Quino checkerspot) and over 100 bird species including the threatened California gnatcatcher and the endangered least Bell's vireo.

Why hasn’t Fanita been conserved similar to other valuable parcels in the region?

The Santee City Council blocked access to public funding through the Department of Defense “Buffer Program” despite a the desire of a willing seller to conserve the land through program funding.

What can I do to help?

Join our campaign, donate to our effort and contact the city council.

Will the State force Santee to build even more houses on Fanita Ranch if we don't allow the current project proposal?

The State does not force housing into Cal Fire designated Very High Fire Severity Zones like Fanita Ranch. The State discourages risky locations because eventually we all must bear the costs of poorly sited developments.

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