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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Santee's Ken Fox Wins Statewide Award

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ken Fox is the prototype of the active citizen and long-term volunteer that communities everywhere rely upon to improve their quality of life.

He’s been a leader and supporter of youth sports programs in Santee and the East County region for more than 30 years.

He’s also been the wagonmaster of a hot dog stand that raises money for a program that pays the fees so that needy families and seniors can participate in Santee’s recreation programs.

He was the driving force behind the creation of last year’s Santee Wine & Bluegrass Festival, which raised about $8,700 for the city’s recreation scholarship program and other park improvement projects.

He’s served on the Santee Park and Recreation Committee since April 1999 and is currently its chairman. He’s also an elected board member of the Santee School District.

In consideration of these accomplishments, the California Association of Park and Recreation Commissioners awarded its Outstanding Park and Recreation Commissioner of 2010 to Ken Fox. He was presented with the statewide award at the May 25 Santee City Council meeting.

Major Road Projects on Horizon

The City of Santee is preparing to launch what will be the largest and most expensive series of street repair projects in the City’s 31-year history.

To take advantage of low prices during the depressed economy, the City is leveraging future TransNet funding to resurface several major streets beginning in late summer 2011. Fanita Parkway, known for its potholes and the target of numerous complaints, is the highest priority and will be the first street within the project to be completed.

The City’s strategy is to bundle several street projects into a single bid package to induce competitive bids from contractors. Past experience has shown that large-scale improvements, as opposed to a series of smaller projects separately bid, allow companies to offer lower prices.  The deadline for bids is June 8, 2011.

The initial phase of work, estimated to cost $4.7 million, is expected to begin in July 2011. The bulk of the work will be applying rubberized asphalt to road surfaces. But repairs will also be made to storm drains, concrete sidewalks, curbs, gutters and the installation of pedestrian ramps. A second phase of road improvements is expected to cost $1.8 million, bringing the total price tag to approximately $6.5 million.

The following streets are included in the first phase:
  • Fanita Parkway
  • Lake Canyon Road (Fanita Parkway to Carlton Hills Blvd)
  • East Glendon Circle Neighborhood
  • Rumson Drive
  • Carlton Hills Boulevard
  • Mission Gorge Road (Cottonwood Avenue to Riverview Parkway)
The City’s Development Services Department is planning to host a public meeting in late June to provide residents with more detailed information and answer questions about the project. In the next few weeks, informational flyers will be mailed to residents along the project boundaries.

For further updates, go to the city’s website or contact Associate Civil Engineer Toby Espinola at (619) 258-4100 ext. 174.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mast Park Master Plan Underway

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The city of Santee needs your input on how to make Mast Park a more engaging place that fosters a healthy lifestyle.
To gather your ideas, the city has scheduled a public workshop for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 2 in Building 7 at the City Hall complex, 10601 Magnolia Avenue, Bldg. 7.

We’re inviting all Santee residents to attend this brainstorming session and tell us what improvements they’d like to see at this park, which is the city’s oldest and largest.
The effort to refresh Mast Park by drafting a new master plan is aided by a Healthy Community Planning Grant the city has received from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).  The grant funds originated from the federal government to combat obesity and foster healthier communities in America. The goal of the grant is to redevelop the park so that it fosters health-improving activities and to incorporate this goal as a planning objective in future parks.
Although the park encompasses about 100 acres, the updated master plan will focus on the 26.5 acres on the north side of the San Diego River east of Carlton Hills Boulevard and will serve as a comprehensive guide for the development of facilities to meet the needs of the community over the next 20 years.
The new master plan could pave the way for a variety of park improvements such as picnic pavilions, exercise equipment, better signage, improved walking trails and drought-tolerant landscaping. The latest addition to the park is a fenced-in off-leash dog area, which is currently under construction.
Improving the riverfront trail will also be a priority. Mast Park is a key link in the regional San Diego River Park Master Plan, which envisions a park and trail system along the river’s 52-mile course from the mountains to the sea.
Written comments may also be e-mailed to TRodgers@ci.santee.ca.us or mailed to the Santee Community Services Department, 10601 Magnolia Ave. Santee, CA  92071. Questions can be directed to project manager Terry Rodgers at (619) 258-4100 ext. 127.

Cost-sharing Agreement Reached on Fanita Parkway Repaving Project

A pothole-scarred private street in northwest Santee that has annoyed residents will soon be a smoother ride, thanks to a cost-sharing agreement reached between the city of Santee, a local water district and a private developer.

The agreement calls for the city of Santee, Padre Dam Municipal Water District and HomeFed Corporation to contribute equally to finance a $454,000 road resurfacing project along a stretch of Fanita Parkway.

“We’re fortunate to gain the cooperation of all three parties to make this much-needed project happen,” said Santee City Manager Keith Till. “It’s a great example of inter-agency cooperation and of government working with business for the benefit of the public.”

Construction is expected to begin in August and will include new street striping to accommodate a bicycle lane. The bulk of the project involves patching and applying an asphalt overlay on 1.3 miles of Fanita Parkway from Mast Boulevard to Ganley Road. The work will result in a smoother surface and should extend the road’s lifespan until the long-term plan to demolish it and reconstruct a new road can be achieved.

The road surface been steadily deteriorating, with the pothole problem becoming especially acute in the past two years, Till said.

The previous owner of the road, BarrettAmerican, planned to rebuild the street and dedicate it to the city as part of its development of the proposed 1,400-unit Fanita Ranch project, which the City Council approved in 2007.  But maintenance of the road was curtailed and the development plan went into limbo as BarrettAmerican slipped into bankruptcy in 2009.  HomeFed Corp. acquired the 2,600-acre property at a foreclosure auction in January and is now pursing the development of Fanita Ranch.

"I hope this agreement is just the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship for HomeFed Corp. and our two partners, the city of Santee and Padre Dam Municipal Water District," said PaulBorden, HomeFed president and CEO. "HomeFed has always been willing to pay its fair share of the costs for its development projects.''

Fanita Parkway also borders the 190-acre SanteeLakes facility, which is owned and operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. On Tuesday, May 24, the district’s board approved the cost-sharing agreement.

Fanita Parkway has been a road without an owner for decades," said Allen Carlisle, General Manager of Padre Dam Municipal Water District. "Padre Dam funded improvements to the road in 2005 and we're contributing now because it's important for Santee Lakes and it's important to be a good neighbor.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sign Ordinance Revised

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Santee City Council has adopted new regulations aimed at reducing visual clutter in Santee’s commercial retail areas and transportation corridors.

The new regulations, which were crafted to give businesses flexibility in using signage to attract customers, will go into effect June 10.

“The intent is to clarify the regulations, make them easier to enforce, and to reduce the visual chaos of excessive signage along our major streets and freeways,” said Santee Planning Director Melanie Kush. “The goal is to balance the needs of the business community with aesthetic considerations.”

One significant change is that businesses located along the newly completed extension of State Route 52 are allowed to add new wall signage targeting freeway traffic. That option would have been difficult to exercise under the the previous regulations.

The city plans to obtain compliance by explaining and discussing the new rules with business owners, as opposed to issuing a flurry of code enforcement notifications.

“We prefer to take an educational approach rather than a punitive one,” said Kush, noting that the sign ordinance was last changed in 1998. “We’re working with the local Chamber of Commerce to help get the word out to the business community.”

The revised ordinance limits the number, size and duration of signs advertising a special event, such as a sale or grand opening.

Most of the restrictions in the new ordinance focus on the use of banners or other types of “temporary” signs. Key changes include:

  • Businesses may put up one temporary sign no larger than 40 square feet for each street frontage. Temporary signs may be used for up to 30 consecutive days per event, but for no longer than 90 days total per year.
  • New businesses may put up a temporary name-identification banner for up to 60 days after opening to allow time for permanent signage to be installed.
  • Temporary signs advertising public and community events are limited to 60 square feet and may not be displayed longer than 30 consecutive days. Such signs must be removed within 7 days of the event.
The new ordinance still allows businesses to display balloons, banners, flag and other attention-grabbing devices. However, if such displays contain any text, such as the name or logo of the business, they are now considered signs, and therefore are subject to the new size and duration limits.

Existing rules governing permanent signs, the size of which are based on building frontage, remain unchanged except for businesses facing the freeway. The revised ordinance allows businesses located near freeways to erect signs that are visible to freeway traffic. Businesses with a regionwide customer base, such as shopping centers and auto dealerships, may be allowed to erect a freestanding freeway-oriented sign up to 15 feet in height. Businesses may request a Conditional Use Permit to erect a taller sign up to 15 feet above the elevation of the freeway, but no taller than 50 feet.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Microchip Your Pet This Sunday

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pet owners can have microchips imbedded into their pets, obtain rabies vaccinations and buy dog licenses at a special clinic scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 22 at Mast Park in Santee, 9125 Carlton Hills Blvd.

Microchips, which are available for a $20 fee, are invaluable in reuniting lost animals with their owners. Rabies vaccinations for dogs at least 4 months old and cats at least 3 months old can be purchased for $6.

The County Department of Animal Services is offering to waive late fees for dog owners who renew annual licenses that have lapsed and for those licensing their pet for the first time.

These services are available only to residents of unincorporated areas of San Diego County and those from the following six cities that have a contract with the Animal Services Dept.: San Diego, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and Santee.

Additional information is available from Animal Services at (619) 767-2675 or on the web at http://www.sddac.com/.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

End of the Trail

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A barrier has been erected at the western end of the Mast Park West trail to deter bicyclists and pedestrians from using an unimproved dirt path along the San Diego River. Operators of the Carlton Oaks golf course, who fully support the eventual extension of the trail, said the barrier was necessary for liability reasons and to keep the public from being harmed by errant golf balls.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Public Works Week

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

National Public Works Week (May 15-21) means its time to tip our hats to the city of Santee’s public services crew. The 13-member staff performs an amazing array of tasks ranging from graffiti removal to patching potholes. They are a resourceful group of men and women, and we salute them for their diligent efforts to maintain Santee as a great place to live. The gentleman in this photo operating a power sweeper at Town Center Community Park is Public Services Manager Bob Stein, who obviously leads by example and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. If you see something that needs their attention, you can leave a message by calling the Public Services Division hotline at (619) 258-4195, Ext. 104.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Scouts Improve Mast Park Trail Connection

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo courtesy of Gary Strawn,
San Diego River Foundation volunteer
A group of about 20 Girl Scouts and other youthful volunteers from Santee toiled for nearly two hours the morning of May 14 to place indigenous river rocks along the Carlton Hills Drive/San Diego River underpass.

The rock markers designate the underpass as the connection between the Mast Park riverfront trail and the new pedestrian and bicycle trail at Mast Park West.

The volunteers, including their adult supervisors, were participating in the San Diego River Park’s Youth Day of Service.

More improvements are planned for this trail connection, including additional signage and a proposed mural for the concrete walls of the underpass.

New Trail Dedicated at Mast Park West

Nearly 40 people turned out May 11 for a ceremony dedicating a newly completed half-mile section of the San Diego River Trail at Mast Park West.

Mike Nelson of the San Diego River Conservancy celebrated Santee's partnerships that made the trail possible.

Many stayed after the ceremony for a guided walk led by Shannon Quigley, (center, in white) program coordinator for the San Diego River Park Foundation. Ms. Quigley gave an animated talk about the flora and fauna found along the path, which bisects a 43-acre habitat preserve the city obtained in 2009 from The Environmental Trust.
The trail, which cost $405,586 to construct and took six months to complete, was funded by a state grant obtained on behalf of Santee by the San Diego River Conservancy, a state agency.
The new trail connects with about 2.5 miles of existing riverfront paths in Santee.

Pedestrians and bicyclists can now travel along the San Diego River from the city’s western boundary at Carlton Oaks golf course to the center of the city at Town Center Community Park.

Four new interpretive signs provide
information about the River's natural habitat.

Jordan Richardson of Troop 51 displayed
one of the markers along the trail.
The medallions were donated by the
San Diego River Park Foundation
and were installed as part of
Richardson's Eagle Scout project.