Santee's Housing Boom Prompts Concerns About Traffic

The reason for all of the growth is that Santee is one of the few areas in San Diego County that still has available land to build.

In Santee, there are plans in the works to build thousands of new homes over the next couple of years and locals are worried about traffic that's already bumper to bumper during rush hour.

Once complete, the Weston will add 415 new homes on 204 acres across from West Hills High School. Pardee Homes is developing the neighborhood near an open space reserve.

Two-story, single-family homes will range from nearly 1,800-square feet to 2,800 square feet and will be priced from "the high $500s" to more than $700,000. 

Prospect Fields, the KB Homes plan west of State Route 125 and south of State Route 52 offers two-story homes from 1,900-square feet to 2,200 square feet in the mid-$600,000 range.

There are more developments in the works for a community that saw just 72 houses, townhomes or condos built in 2017. 

According to the city's 2015-2019 annual action plan, the area has seen a 33 percent increase in home values and purchase prices in the last three years. 

The median sale price for homes sold in Santee in 2015 was $391,350.

The reason for all of the growth is that Santee is one of the few areas in San Diego County that still has available land to build. 

More homes mean more business and jobs but locals fear it also means more traffic especially along State Route 52 and Mast Boulevard. 

Santee resident Tiffany Alvord likes to see the development because it will mean more revenue for the city and for local businesses. 

However, she hopes the planners know what they're doing when it comes to more cars on the road. 

"I hope with the new construction, they also think about the new traffic. Because it will get worse," Alvord said.

Dustin Wiegers works in Santee and he says it can take him at least an hour to get from Interstate 805 to Mast in the evening. 

"For me as a driver, every day I take that road, it's crazy," Dustin Wiegers said of Mast Boulevard "It's not getting better, it's getting worse."

Right now, the San Diego region has only half the housing needed for the area’s expected growth.

A report from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS showed only four cities in San Diego County were building enough units to meet affordable housing needs. They are Coronado, Lemon Grove, San Marcos, and Vista.

Higher costs for rentals is forcing some families to move. A recent survey shows rents in San Diego are up 5.5 percent over last year.

The inability to afford housing costs is driving younger generations and senior citizens out of the region - a trend that could have a domino effect.

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