Building heights in Redlands

Hello all! The Friends of Redlands Committee is still alive and well. We are fulfilling our mandate to keep you informed and up to date on city actions and working to Save Redlands from high rises, density, traffic and congestion.

Over the past two months we have filed three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. We are asking questions about the city’s plans for building heights downtown and the U of R Transit Villages Area (TVA). Here is what we have discovered:


  1. The city responded to our first records request saying that the height limit downtown in the TVA was 55’ (currently, building heights in the TVA are governed by the Downtown Specific Plan 45). That is the height of the new Stuart Street Parking Garage. Another records request revealed that the new Third Street Commercial Building (next to the garage) is 58’+. So, what gives? There are loopholes to the 55’ limit allowing higher buildings. Things like, penthouses, elevator shaft housings, chimneys, steeples, water tanks, skylights, roof structures, etc., are allowed. So, how high could a building be?
  2. We filed another records request asking for the most up to date Transit Villages Specific Plan Draft (has yet to be approved). This shows a diagram of a 65’ tall building with an undefined dimension that would be allowed in the TVA. Let’s speculate that on top of this 65’ a “roof structure” is added on. What would be the result? A building 75’ tall or taller (the California Health and Safety Code 13210 defines a high rise as 75’ or taller)? Remember 300 State, the new city hall, is 85’ tall.


From all these FOIA requests and our conversations with the city it is apparent that there are exceptions and loopholes to building heights downtown and the TVA. These exceptions are part of a larger problem. The City Planning Department along with the developers can increase the heights of buildings and the public will be kept in the dark until the buildings are completed. Then it is too late!