A deal for the city of San Diego to lease 64.3 acres it owns at the Carlton Oaks Country Club in Santee to the facility's owner has been unanimously approved by the San Diego City Council.
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The 40-year lease to TY Investment Co. ends the prospect of a sale, which was opposed by environmentalists. Most of the land, owned by the city since 1933, is along the banks of the San Diego River near the Santee-San Diego city limits.
The company originally tried to buy the property outright, but the city backed off last year in the face of opposition from environmentalists who didn't want part of the watershed to be turned over to private interests.
Company executives said the purchase was necessary to remain in business after a property reassessment drove up costs. In rejecting the sale last October, members of the City Council's Land Use and Housing Committee asked city staff and the company to renegotiate the lease.
Representatives of the environmental groups supported the lease when it was passed out of the committee two months ago.
Councilman Todd Gloria said the solution is a "clear win-win" situation, "one that retains jobs at the golf course, which I think every council member wanted to see happen, but also retains the public ownership."
TY Investment will pay the city $150,000 the first year, with a 2.5 percent increase over 19 successive years. The rate in the second 20 years would be based on market value.
The rent will be partially offset in exchange for access to the acreage by city employees and members of the San Diego River Conservancy who, under the proposal, would have the right to develop a trail in the area.
A trail along the San Diego River in Santee stops at a chain-link fence at the country club. Officials want to connect the path to the walking network at nearby Mission Trails Regional Park. A lawyer for the conservancy said it will take about one year to plan the trail and obtain state permits.
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