San Diego Judge Rules Against 3,000-Home Project in Santee

Written by William Hale

San Diego’s lack of housing could have been partially remedied by a 3,000-home development project in Santee, but Judge Katherine Bacal of the San Diego Superior Court ruled against the housing project due to environmental concerns. 

The main factor driving the average San Diego home price up to $764,000 is a severe lack of inventory, but a plethora of regulations, inflation, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic has also increased home prices. Nonetheless, meeting the demand for living in San Diego with a proper supply of new homes is the key to creating an affordable county. 

Environmental advocate and lawyer Peter Broderick said that “officials across California need to stop letting sprawl drive up fire threats.” But Fanita Ranch in Santee isn’t the only project that has been shot down with the influence of environmental non-profits, as a judge cited climate change against an Otay Ranch development last year. 

Despite the ruling by Judge Bacal, HomeFed Fanita Rancho, LLC, — the organization that would oversee the housing project — should be optimistic about the future of the development. Afterall, Bacal’s ruling is only a temporary halt for Fanita Ranch.

“We have such a huge housing shortage,” said Jeff O’Connor, vice president of the Carlsbad-based HomeFed Corporation. He also added that his organization could potentially appeal Bacal’s decision. 

In her March 3rd decision, Bacal said that it is “not clear based on the information presented whether residents and those in the surrounding community would be able to timely evacuate.” Of course, ensuring the safety of residents is the first priority for elected officials, and wildfires have indeed been a growing problem in California over the last decade. 

The whole situation points to a difficult problem — local leaders have to figure out how to produce more housing and affordable living, while also not forgetting about the potentially catastrophic wildfires that have ravaged the entire west coast in recent years. 

Photo Cred: Mission Times Courier