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Las Colinas Expansion Moving Forward

Audio

Aired 6/25/09

The city of Santee is vowing to continue its fight against the expansion of the Las Colinas women’s jail. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to continue with the project.

— The city of Santee is vowing to continue its fight against the expansion of the Las Colinas women’s jail. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to continue with the project.

More than 20 people spoke in opposition to the plans which call for tripling the size of Las Colinas. Santee Mayor Randy Voepel says the jail would take up nearly 18% of the city’s downtown. The city has already spent nearly half a million dollars fighting the project. Voepel says Santee is willing spend a lot more in legal costs to prevent the expansion from happening.

“We feel that we have tens and tens of millions of dollars on the line in lost opportunity costs for the city. So spending half a million dollars or a million makes sense,” he says.

The Supervisors voted four to one to approve the final environmental impact report for the jail and to hire an architect and project manager. Chairwoman Diane Jacob voted against the expansion. She says it’s bad for the city and county tax payers. But Supervisor Ron Roberts says other communities located near county jails do fine. He says he’s not worried about the possibility of Santee filing a lawsuit.

“I’m glad that the city’s in such great shape that it can spend so much on legal bills. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s a part of doing business for us,” he says.

It’s estimated the project would cost more than $300 million. The Supervisors could choose a developer in the fall.

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