JUST SAY NO: MALL SITE PROPOSAL INCLUDES STRUCTURE AS TALL AS CITI BANK BUILDING ON STATE STREET

Per Redlands Daily Facts:

Village Partners’ proposal for State Street Village includes mixed-use, three-, four- and five-story buildings with up to 722 housing units, but the builder is open to revisiting the five-story features, according to company principal Don Henry…The proposal also includes a six-level parking structure with 780 spaces…

To help visualize just how tall these structures would be, the Citi Bank on State Street is six-stories tall. Thus it’s easy to see what an imposing eyesore a six-story parking structure would be.  In a zoom meeting with the City of Redlands Planning Dept. two weeks ago, Village Partners said that five-story buildings would surround the parking structure to help block the view of it.  But, if five-story buildings are necessary to help block the view of the parking structure, then it’s highly unlikely that Village Partners will revisit the issue as they claim.  Apparently, they need buildings that tall to offset the giant parking structure.

Friends of Redlands continues to collect signatures for a Growth Management initiative that would place a cap on building heights of 3 stories in our historic downtown and at the Transit Vllage areas.  When one considers the  proportions of our downtown and the height of the Citi Bank building, and then visualizes the Mall site having a structure that tall with structures surrounding it that are nearly that tall, it’s easy to see what a disproportionate eyesore the proposed new builds would be.  They would easily swallow up our charming historic downtown. 

Let’s develop downtown, but let’s do it in a smart and thoughtful way and one that enhances our unique historical charms because that is why people and tourists are drawn to downtown Redlands in the first place.  Making us look like any other pedestrian urban center with a bigger-is-better mentality does not enhance the visual “jewel of the Inland Empire”.  Rather it destroys it.

 

GROWTH MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE: PETITION SIGNING BLITZ!

MAY DAY! MAY DAY!  MAY DAY!

Get ready for our petition signing blitz Saturday, May 1 throughout Redlands.  We are going to have one big, last push for petition signatures.  As we are well on our way to collecting enough signatures to qualify the Growth Management initiative for a ballot, we want to finish STRONG.  If you haven’t signed the petition, or know someone who hasn’t, there will be three conveniently located signing stations where you can drive by (you don’t even have to get out of your car!) and sign a petition:

PROSPECT PARK (Corner of Highland/Cajon) 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

SYLVAN PARK (Corner of University/Colton) 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Corner of Brookside/San Mateo (near Carolyn’s Cafe) 8:00 am – 12:00

Spread the word!  Let’s get this done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT WOULD BE SO EASY FOR THE CITY OF REDLANDS TO REASSURE DOUBTFUL RESIDENTS

The easiest and most effective way for the City of Redlands to convince residents who doubt officials’ dismissive reassurances that they won’t approve high-rises downtown is to get it on the books and make it official:

A report in the Feb. 25 issue of the Redlands Community News focused on efforts made by various consultants, council members and officials to convince skeptical residents that there will be no high-density high-rises in Transit Village areas.

The easiest and most effective way to reassure a doubting public would be to publicly endorse the Growth Management Initiative sponsored by Redlanders for Responsible Growth Management and supported by the Friends of Redlands, a local civic group concerned with protecting the historic charm of downtown Redlands.

The initiative would limit building heights to 40 feet in the Downtown and University of Redlands Transit Villages areas, prevent buildings taller than two stories next to single-story homes without the consent of the owner of the single-story home, increase parking requirements over what is specified in the Transit Villages plan, and replace a 4/5 council vote enabling density exceptions with a 5/5 council vote.

This is necessary so four city council members could not override the objections of a fifth council member opposing its location. This makes every voting district equally powerful. If the City signed onto this, it would provide the reassurance the public needs.

We want the Jewel of the Inland Empire to remain just that. Smart, well thought-out development that enhances our historical downtown rather than devouring it, would be welcomed.

 

 

LET MALL DEVELOPERS KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE MALL

Village Partners, which currently owns the Redlands Mall, is asking for public input on the future of the mall. The City’s Transit Villages Plan says that State St. would be extended to Eureka and bisected by 4th St. Apartments would be built on the 4 blocks created by street changes. THERE ARE NO HEIGHT LIMITATIONS IN THIS AREA. We are advocating that the mall be refurbished and landscaped, and turned into a new civic center for city offices, meeting halls, and a police station.  By repurposing the mall with Dangermond-styled landscaping (see: Packing House), and exterior/interior remodel, the City would provide expansive space for a varitety of services. Equally as important, this would not eliminate critically needed free public parking. If apartments are built, where would visitors park when coming downtown to shop, eat, attend graduations, and summer Bowl events? Where would local business owners and employees park? People would be forced to park even farther out into neighborhoods in front of homes.  Not only would the parking problem be further compounded, it would also discourage visitors to our downtown, as well as frustrate neighboring home  owners. Let’s refurbish an already existing building. In the hands of professionals, the ugly eyesore can be transformed into an attractive, multi-use structure that would benefit Redlands. It would also keep our civic center downtown.
Village Partners, is hoping to host some Zoom workshops with community members to learn about the community’s desires for the property going forward. This will inform their plans and proposals for redeveloping the site. Please contact them below if you are interested in participating and/or emailing them your thoughts.

If you’d like to participate, please fill out this poll: https://forms.gle/3H3KNP9qCXVPdGRQ6 For questions, contact Kaitlin Morris at kaitlin@villagepartners.com.

WE’RE ALMOST THERE!

We are excited to share with you that, in just five months’ time, we have collected more than 5,000 signatures for our Growth Management initiative petition!  This is really wonderful news!  Barring inadmissible signatures, the Growth Management initiative has now qualified for a General Election.  However, because a General Election will not take place for nearly two years, we are hoping to collect a total of 7,000 signatures to qualify for a Special Election.  A Special Election would happen much sooner, and that benefits us by limiting the time that the City has to proceed with its current plan.  If we win a Special Election, the City would be forced to adhere much more quickly to voted-in height limits in the downtown Transit Village areas.   If we have to wait for a General Election, the City would have more time to push full-steam ahead without building height limits in the Transit Village areas.

Remember that Brian Desatnik, Director of Development Services, reminded us why it is imperative that we collect enough signatures to get the Growth Management initiative on a ballot:

“Current zoning in the downtown has no limit on building height.”

So this is why we are imploring you to help us reach our goal,  We have until June 1 (with the extension granted us) to get this done.  Every signature counts, so if you know anyone who wants to sign a petition, call John at (909) 496-1539, hit reply to this email, or email PreserveRedlandsNow@yahoo.com.  We are happy to take a petition anywhere for a signature or provide you with a petition to collect signatures.

We are having another petition signing station at the corner of Cajon and Highland (Prospect Park) this Saturday,  March 13 (9:00 am – 3:00 pm).  Last Saturday’s signing station at Prospect Park resulted in 180 signatures!

We are also planning for two signing stations at Brookeside Park (between Terracina and Bellevue above Brookside on Saturday,  March 20 (9:00 am – 3:00 pm) and Saturday, March 27 (9:00 am – 3:00 pm).  We are looking for volunteers to help.  Whether it’s one hour or three hours, we’ll gladly take whatever you can give!  If you want to help make sure that we collect enough signatures to qualify the initiative for a Special Election, then this is a great way to do it.  The requirements are minimal:  wear a hat to protect against the sun, wear a smile, and briefly chat with residents about why the initiative is necessary.  Cheat sheets will be available.  Or if you prefer, you can simply hold up a “Save Redlands Now” sign to draw attention to the signing station.  Remember, the City is already moving ahead with its plans.  The time to act is now, not later.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to gather more than 5,000 signatures!   Remember, we did that in five months’ time.  With your help, we can easily collect another 2,000 signatures in the remaining three months. Let’s keep the momentum going and get this done!

DRIVE-THRU PETITION SIGNING THIS SATURDAY!!

Friends of Redlands (FOR) is a non-partisan community group that provides residents a way to effectively monitor and influence city policies to protect our city’s unique heritage and charm.

The Redlands City Council has refused to accept the defeat of Measure G and is moving ahead with the Transit Villages Plan. It would allow high-rise apartments of 70’ and up to 6000 people living in the downtown Transit Villages Area along the railroad tracks.

“Current zoning in the downtown has no limit on building height.”

(Brian Desatnik, Director of Development Services)

The only way to STOP the city and prevent high-rises next to single-family homes is to pass a citizen initiative to limit building heights and density. Friends of Redlands is asking you to SIGN THE PETITION to get this initiative on a future ballot. This initiative would:

*Close loopholes preventing future councils from building high-density apartment units

*Replace 4/5 council vote enabling density exceptions with a 5/5 council vote

*Eliminate General Plan exemption allowing higher density near future Metrolink

stations

*Prevent buildings taller than two stories next to single-family homes

*Place hard limit of three stories and 40’ on buildings w/in Downtown Transit Village

*Significantly increase parking requirements throughout the transit village areas

 

Friends of Redlands will be collecting signatures on the following dates at the corner of Cajon and Highland at Prospect Park:

Saturday, March 6 (9:00 am – 3:00 pm)

Saturday:  March 13 (9:00 am – 3:00 pm)

If you have any questions, please email us a PreserveRedlandsNow@yahoo.com or call John at (909) 496-1539.

TO THE KEYBOARDS! SEND YOUR EMAIL NOW!

Reports in the Redlands Daily Facts and in the Redlands Community News this week confirmed that the Transit Village area plan calls for four-story buildings:

The portions of the area dubbed Village District, the land closest to each of the three rail stations, are the only places where buildings up to an average of four stories will be allowed, [city planner Brian] Foote said.

and:

Around the village center, buildings are only allowed to be up to four stories on average, with possible five-story tower elements only immediately around the station.

However, it should be noted that the City of Redlands Transit Villages Specific Plan Draft (Redlands Mall,  3.3 Vision)  already states that: “New mixed-use and multi-family buildings …. Ranging from three to five stories in height…” 

As a comparison and to help visualize the proposed heights, Krikorian Theater is 51′, while the Citibank building on State Street is 85′ /six- stories.  According to the proposed Transit Village Plan, new construction could be as tall as 78′.  But, given that there is currently no limit to the building heights, who knows??   Also, contrary to what the City claims, Redlands has never had four-story buildings: LaPosada Hotel and Casa Loma were both three-stories, Casa Loma had two four-story viewing towers, and LaPosada had a small service structure on the back of the roof.

Had Measure G not been soundly defeated last year, it would have allowed high-rises downtown along the railroad tracks.  Measure U, passed by Redlanders in 1997, limited building heights in the city.  However, it does not cover the Transit Villages along the train tracks downtown.  Therefore, there is no height limit on new construction in the areas.  Through the Growth Management initiative, Friends of Redlands would be able to close this loophole and limit building height to 40’ and population density in the Transit Villages Area downtown.  This is why it is imperative that we continue to collect signatures to get it on the ballot.

We are asking that everyone who receives this email take a few minutes to email the City of Redlands citing your comments/concerns about the plans.  We need to take advantage of every opportunity to let officials know that we do not want to see high-rise and/or high-density builds downtown and that the current plan does not address public concerns (lack of parking, overcrowding, unlimited heights, high-density, safety concerns, etc.),  Remember, once the downtown area is developed, it will be too late to do anything about it.

Public comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, and kept to 250 words or less. They can be sent to publiccomment@cityofredlands.org or through a form on the city’s website, cityofredlands.org/public-speaker-form. Written comments can also be dropped off at the City Clerk’s Office at 35 Cajon St.

GREAT NEWS!

From the Redlands Community News:

Redlanders for Responsible Growth Management, which is leading an initiative to prevent hi-rise buildings in the city, received a 120-day extension to collect the valid signatures needed for its petition.

Redlands City Clerk Jeanne Donaldson said to her knowledge, proponents of a local initiative in California have not previously been granted an extension. The deadline was extended from Feb. 8 to June 8.

Larry Leonard, a leader of Redlanders for Responsible Growth Management, said the extension argument was based on the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, which was granted a 120-day extension because of COVID-19 in November.

Former Redlands Mayor Bill Cunningham developed the growth management initiative in September, working with No on Measure G campaign leaders.

The initiative ordinance amends sections of the Redlands General Plan that deals with managed development.

Points that summarize the proposed changes to the general plan include:

● The Redlands General Plan prohibits the establishment of new residential land use classifications by the City Council. This initiative ordinance exempts the Transit Village Overlay Zone from the prohibition.

● The Redlands General Plan provides that no undeveloped land that as of March 1, 1997, which is designated within the Redlands General Plan as “Urban Reserve” or “Urban Reserve (Agriculture)” as of June 1, 1987, and/or any land that was in active agricultural production on Nov. 3, 1986, regardless of zoning designation, shall be re-designated or rezoned to permit a residential density greater than that permitted in the Estate Residential (R-E) classification on June 1, 1987, unless certain findings are made by a 4/5ths vote of the City Council.

This initiative ordinance changes the vote requirement to 5/5ths of the City Council. Provisions would be added to the Redlands General Plan to limit building height within the Downtown Transit Village and the University of Redlands Transit Village to three stories and 40 feet.

Building height within the Alabama Street, California Street and New York Street transit villages would be limited to four stories and 52 feet.

“Because of the pandemic, it’s been difficult to get signatures,” said Leonard. “It’s not that people don’t want to sign. It’s just hard to formulate how to collect them. We had a station at Gerrards that worked well for a while. What we finally figured out was to canvass neighborhoods and set up localized signing stations. I walked 230 homes the other day. On Saturday, Feb. 6, we will be at the corner of Colton Avenue and University Street for a drive-thru signing.”

Leonard said the group has about 10 volunteers and received 100 signatures over the weekend.

“We have been doing this since August,” said Leonard. “I got involved during the Measure G campaign. It’s interesting because we all thought it was solved when the measure failed. But the city came back with its Transit Specific Plan, which includes high-rise buildings. Residents don’t want high rises downtown. It takes a conversation to explain what the city is planning to do, and people can’t believe it. They are astounded and angry.”

According to the Transit Villages Specific Plan, up to 30% of the building footprint area can be four stories/65 feet, provided an equal amount of building footprint area is no taller than two stories/30 feet.

Buildings on parcels located adjacent to single-family zoned parcels must step down to two stories/25 feet. Up to 30% of the building footprint area can be five stories/65 feet, provided an equal amount of building footprint area is no taller than three stories/45 feet.

The city said the Transit Villages Specific Plan does not allow for high-rise buildings (13 floors or above) and will not allow mid-rise buildings (six to 12 floors).

According to the Redlands Transit Villages website, the majority of the Transit Villages Specific Plan would be limited to two or three stories in most districts. Only the Village Center district around the train stations would allow up to four stories on average.

Though the city says high-rises are not a threat, residents are still wary.

“Our total amount of signatures so far is close to 4,000,” said Leonard.

According to City Clerk Donaldson, Elections Code 9215 states that the signature threshold levels are based on the last report of registration by the county elections office to the Secretary of State. As of the report from July 3, Redlands has 42,716 registered voters. For the petition to be put on the next general election ballot, it would need a 10% threshold of 4,272 signatures. For the city to call a special election, the petition would need a 15% threshold of 6,408 signatures.

“We are close to the 4,272, but what happens is some signatures won’t be valid,” said Leonard. “Some who sign either don’t live in Redlands or don’t sign it correctly, so we need more to cover for that. To be comfortable, I think we would need about 4,600.”

 

HAPPENING NOW!

TIME IS RUNNING OUT AS OUR  DEADLINE IS FEB. 1

Get yourself to the corner of University and Colton and SIGN THE PETITION!!  Happening today from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Tell your neighbors and friends.   If you’ve already signed, do a drive-by honk-and-wave to support our team!

We will also be collecting signatures at Gerard’s from 1:30 – 3:30 pm today!