WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Friends of Redlands is planning ahead for the battle with the city to get our Citizen’s Initiative approved by the voters next November. We want to expand our list of supporters so we can inform more Redlanders on what FOR is doing and the latest actions by the city.

                                                       WE NEED YOUR HELP!

If you know anyone who wants to be added to our email list please let us know. You can send contact information to Larry or go to your website, FriendsofRedlands.net, go to Contact Us ( on right) and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up. Thank you.

EVEN EASIER! SIGN UP BELOW!

Candidate, anyone?

The November 2022 election in Redlands will be quite an event. Not only is the Citizen’s Initiative to limit density and building heights on the ballot, but three council members are up for reelection. Mayor Barich and Councilwoman Davis both have terms that are up and Councilman Foster’s seat will be vacant.

Here is an opportunity for someone to run for office. Remember, all five members of the city council dismissed the defeat of Measure G despite being outspent by a 9-1 margin. Then the council voted unanimously to delay the vote on the Citizen’s Initiative signed by 7700 voters. This delay will allow city planning, the planning commission and council a year to dilute the requirements of the Initiative and allow developers to get plans approved before November. How can existing council members run on a record of blatantly ignoring the will of the people??? This is a made to order, winning issue for the right candidate to run on.

So, if you know anyone who supports our efforts and is considering running for council send them our way. Friends of Redlands will put some muscle behind the campaign.

Paid Parking Station
Remember when Redlands had PARKING METERS on State Street? Frustrating to say the least.

Future Downtown Parking

Friends of Redlands is working to keep you informed as to the developments downtown. As you know we collected 7700 signatures to get the Citizen’s Growth Initiative on the ballot and the city delayed the vote until November 2022. In the meantime the city is working very quickly to put in place requirements to nullify The Initiative.

For example, on October 12, the Planning Commission recommended that the City Council vote to modify the parking requirements for developments downtown. These new requirements are contrary to the parking specifications in the Citizen’s Growth Initiative and follow very closely the parking requirements in the Transit Villages Specific Plan Draft (TVSPD) that has not yet been approved. Here is a big question: Can the city do this without approval of the Transit Villages Environmental Impact Report? Friends of Redlands will be asking this question of City Planning.

If the city can make these types of peremptory decisions just wait for the PAID PARKING downtown. Yes, in the Transit Villages Specific Plan Draft PAID PARKING is coming to downtown Redlands.

Chapter 6 of the TVSPD states “That the parking supply is important to the economic success of downtown.” But then the Plan says an “oversupply of parking takes up valuable land that could be used for better purposes, while encouraging additional automobile use.” The plan also says that research has shown that parking needs downtown are often 25% to 50% less than needed and that some cities have reduced parking, and in some cases, eliminated it. The Plan says that parking should be managed efficiently and that it is “reasonable to implement paid parking programs.” “Parking strategies also include in-lieu fees, parking time restrictions, parking permits, or other types of paid parking ….” Remember when Redlands had PARKING METERS on State Street? Frustrating to say the least.

So, there you have it. As more and more people live in the Transit Villages Area and traffic and density increases Redlanders can look forward to parking meters, parking permits, time limited parking and other paid parking schemes.

A view of proposed State Street village
A view of proposed State Street Village

Downtown Development Update

Did you see the Community News, Friday October 1st, front page headline?

“Planning Commission backs downtown Redlands projects.”

The two projects are Redlands City Center on the site of the old Safety Hall and a Vantage One multifamily project at the corner of Redlands Boulevard and Eureka Street. These projects along with the Village Partners Mall project will put 966 apartments and an estimated 2000 plus people living within a radius of ONE city block. The developers say that the buildings will be 4 stories with 5 story elements and a 6 story parking garage within the Village Partners Mall project.

Remember, the city’s Transit Villages Specific Plan defines a 4 story building as being 65’ tall with an undefined dimension meaning that a 4 story building could be over 75’ tall, making it a high rise structure by California standards. We have asked city planning to give us the absolute dimensional limit for a four, five and six story building. No answer. What are they afraid of?

image of apartments & parking
An apartment complex with parking garage in Riverside, CA. An indicator of what is coming to Redlands.

A Monolith

Pam, one of our supporters, suggested that Friends of Redlands visit an apartment and parking garage development at the corner of Iowa and University in Riverside. Although this is a huge complex it is an indicator of what is coming to Redlands. Worth a look!

Have you seen the new parking garage on Stuart next to the Arrow train station? This garage is three (3) stories and is designed to house 384 cars. It is quite a monolith. The closer one gets to it the more it blocks the view of the mountains. If you think this is big, Village Partners has a six (6) story parking garage with 780 spaces planned for the mall site. During the morning commute the only way to exit this garage will be onto Redlands Blvd and the only direction is to exit going east and then turning left on Orange St., to get on the I-10. And, don’t forget a delay for the Arrow crossing on Orange. Could be exciting!

One more thing. Please do not forget to comment on the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Transit Villages Environmental Impact Report. This will be one of the last chances Redlanders will get to voice their opinions. The NOP states that subjects of “Significant Impact” are water resources, views of the mountains, traffic, noise, population density and parking.

Do your part to Save Redlands by emailing comments to Brian Foote – Planning Manager at bfoote@cityofredlands.org. We only have until September 30th!!!

UPDATE on Initiative

Hello, supporters of the Initiative!

The Friends of Redlands Committee is alive and well. I know we have been quiet since the August 3rd council decision to put off the election on the Managed Growth Initiative until November 2022. We have been reassessing our goals and actions that we will take over the next year. We fully intend to fight on! A part of our mission is to keep you informed as to what the city is doing. Here is the latest on what the city is doing downtown.

At the August 3rd council meeting Councilman Foster said in effect he would encourage an alternate growth initiative, and would work with anyone/group that would initiate it. We know that the U of R is not in favor of our initiative and wants 4 story buildings. What is the definition of a 4 story building?

The city defines it, in their Transit Village Specific Plan, as 65’ PLUS AN UNDEFINED DIMENSION. What does this mean? Remember the Citi Bank Building/Redlands City Offices is 85’ TALL.

Friends of Redlands fully expects the U of R to partner with the opposition and the city to put an initiative on the November 2022 ballot that contradicts the Managed Growth Initiative that we all signed and supported. KEEP IN MIND THAT THE OPPOSITION CAN WORK WITH THE CITY AND PUT AN INITIATIVE ON THE BALLOT WITHOUT GATHERING ANY SIGNATURES. NO SIGNATURES! “0”!

Transit Villages Specific Plan: EIR and NOP UPDATE

The city is preparing the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Transit Villages Specific Plan (TVSP). This EIR is the linchpin to the TVSP. The EIR will determine if the city and developers get their way to allow high rise buildings, increased population density, noise and air pollution, restrictive parking and water and sewer resource management. FOR encourages you to take the time and get involved by SENDING COMMENTS TO Brian Foote, City Planning Manager at bfoote@cityofredlands.org by SEPTEMBER 30TH.  Also SIGN UP FOR THE ZOOM WEBINAR ON SEPTEMBER 15TH AT 4:00 PM. Go to the city website and search Notice of Scoping Meeting and PRE-REGISTER. We cannot emphasize how IMPORTANT THIS IS to the FUTURE OF REDLANDS.

The Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the EIR is available at AK Smiley and at the City Planning Division. We have reviewed the NOP. There are numerous issues that the NOP says will have “SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS” on the future of Redlands.

Check out these pages in the NOP:

    • Page 27: a table of estimated population in the TVA. We think this is an underestimate.
    • Pages 40/41: tall buildings and views of the mountains
    • Pages 50/51: air quality
    • Page 65: emissions
    • Pages 70/71: water resources
    • Pages 84/85: police and fire services
    • Page 90: emergency access

City Council update
You have probably heard by now that Councilman Foster is retiring the first of the year and will not serve out his full term (his term is up November 2022). Who will the council appoint to fill out the term?

The FOR Committee thanks you for your support and concern for the future of Redlands.

THIS IS A BIG DEAL!

PLEASE take time & get involved!

Here is a heads up on an important issue that WILL have a huge effect on the future of Redlands. The city has commissioned a consultant (for $330,000) to write an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in support of the revised Downtown Specific Plan (DSP).

September 1st through the 30th is the public review/comment period on the EIR. This EIR is the linchpin to the approval of the DSP.

If this plan is approved there will be tall buildings (High Rises), density, traffic congestion, reduced parking, and increased water usage in the Downtown Transit Villages Area. Please take the time to get involved by going on the following website: https://www.cityofredlands.org/post/environmental-documents (click on the button for Environmental Documents for Public Review).

Send comments to:

Brian Foote

City of Redlands

35 Cajon Street, Suite 20

P.O. Box 3005

Redlands, CA 92373

Or email him at:

bfoote@cityofredlands.org

There will be a scoping meeting on Sept. 15th at 5:00 p.m. via zoom. Pre-register at this link:

https://cityofredlands.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN CeKX1x4PQiWQsKjl1wzEUQ


THIS IS ANOTHER BIG DEAL! GET INVOLVED.

Another tool the city is using is a survey for residents. This will be used to influence the direction of the city. The city has hired a Wisconsin consulting firm. The survey will take at least 16 minutes. There are 32 questions. (These are actually sections of related questions.)

polco.us/redlandsncs2021     <—-   The link to the survey

OVERVIEW OF THE SECTIONS:

Questions 1-8:  Living in Redlands • how you feel about it • how you rate services

Question 9:  How often have you interacted with the city • how often do you use transportation other than car

Question 10:  Rating of city services (by department)

Question 11:  Rate categories of Redlands government performance (honest, transparent, respectful, etc.)

Question 12:  Contrast service in Redlands to Federal government services

Question 13:  How important do you think it is for Redlands to focus on: Parks & Rec • Health & Wellness • Education • Culture & Arts • Connections & community engagement

Question 14:  To what degree is homelessness a problem in Redlands?

Question 15:  Specific city actions to possibly implement about homelessness

Question 16:  How strongly would you oppose/support a city built & maintained transitional housing project for homelessness ($1 million annual cost)

Question 17:  Building heights downtown—how strongly would you support/oppose 3, 4, 5 stories

Question 18-32:  All about you • your income • your home • your race • etc.


THANKS FOR YOUR INVOLVEMENT AND HELP!

COUNCIL PUTS CRITICAL ISSUE ON HOLD FOR 15 MONTHS

This is from the Redlands Community News (by Bill Cunningham, former mayor of Redlands):

The Friends of Redlands and Redlanders for Responsible Growth Management were disappointed but not surprised by the City Council’s vote to postpone a vote on our measure until November 2022, some 15 months without resolution of an issue which will determine the future of our town.

We welcome Mayor  Paul Barich’s suggestion that we meet and seek compromise on those issues we can agree upon. Over the next several weeks we will seek to meet with each member of the council. We will seek an opportunity to meet with University of Redlands officials, also.

Looming over all is the state’s effort to rob cities of local control of their futures. SB 330 prohibits all restrictions on growth, no matter how justified by environmental concerns. It is interesting to note that three years after its adoption, of the several dozen cities with voter approved growth management controls, only one, Encinitas, has been challenged. Its 30-foot height limit is being tested in the courts.

We do agree with the city’s consultant attorney and Councilman Paul Foster that any litigation prior to the election could likely take several years, tying up all development for that time.

We were surprised that Councilwoman Jenna Guzman-Lowery, once again, voiced criticism of our campaign in duping a gullible public about high-rise buildings as defined as those over 75 feet. It was apparent that she had not read the commissioned fiscal report, which analyzed the three, five story apartment projects currently proposed. The bank building is six stories at 85 feet, just 10 feet taller than those at five. Ignored, also, was the fact that there is no height limit downtown.

We can excuse southwest Los Angeles native Councilman Eddie Tejeda’s  remarks blaming the failure of the mall on growth management. The mall was developed several years before Proposition R. And both the anchors, Harris Co. and Gottschalk’s, were profitable. One or the other might be there today, if their parent companies had not failed. And, of course, CVS continues to be a profitable tenant.

LIVING IN A WHACK-A-MOLE CITY

Once upon a time in the beautiful city of Redlands, a city council approved a high-rise building downtown. It is the only one of its kind that intrusively interrupts the landscape.
Once upon another time in the beautiful city of Redlands, a council must have approved the demolition of a beautiful hotel along with a lovely, unique Elks Lodge in downtown Redlands and replaced it with an albatross of a small shopping mall.

Once upon yet another time in the beautiful city of Redlands, a council approved a lengthy sweetheart lease deal with the CVS drugstore chain. It is the only business still open in the otherwise empty blight of that mall and the city must continue to honor the lease.

There would have been many more such once-upon-a-times and poor decisions were it not for the involvement of concerned citizens. More than once, they have had to go to bat to preserve the unique qualities that make Redlands the Jewel of the Inland Empire. The ones who promote these destructive development ideas no doubt see themselves as visionaries — but the true visionaries are the ones who have worked to keep Redlands unique through their battles fought and won (Measures G, R, N and U).

Living in this beautiful city is like living in a whack-a-mole community. Every time citizens manage to vote down a council effort such as 2020’s Measure G, somehow the powers that be again find the influence and outside money to come up with another scheme that would adversely affect the quality of life and landscape of our beautiful downtown.

And, so, again, a group of concerned citizens rallied to respond to this latest plan and gathered signatures for a petition to put the current plan before the voters of Redlands. Whack, whack, whack! What will pop up next?

Why am I against the current proposed plan for the mall site?

First, why is it that an Orange County entity — Village Partners — was selected to formulate and possibly develop this plan instead of a more local organization? The campaign supporting Measure G was largely funded by outside money. Is that the case here?

Second, I am troubled by the proposed 722 residential units. That is just too many! What would the rent be for these units? Who would qualify? Do we know?

Downtown parking continues to be a huge concern without adding 722 housing units. Many of the residents would still need parking. It’s a pipe dream to assume that most of them only need worry about the walkability of getting to the train station! How will their children get to school? Where will they shop for groceries? And it appears that people like me who might want to patronize downtown are completely forgotten when it comes to our needs.

Another major concern is building height. There are those who speak scornfully about those of us who wish to limit the height of downtown buildings because of the term “high-rise” when referring to five, six or seven stories.

That term is relative to what surrounds us. One of this newspaper’s letter writers said “that horse (high-rise) was already out of the barn,” referring to the Citibank building.

Just because one horse got out of the barn doesn’t mean you need to allow the whole herd to stampede and inflict further damage on Redlands!

City councils of the past made major mistakes as described above. To approve this plan would be yet another mistake as will current plans to destroy the Palm Avenue historic orange grove.

But that is another story.

By Mae Marinello