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Two months before the vote

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Work continues on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project

Proponents of Measure G argue the new train service would bring economic prosperity and new residents to inhabit the proposed transit villages. Opponents argue those villages would increase traffic and crime. Meanwhile, work on the rail continues.

On Tuesday, March 3, Redlands voters will decide the fate of Measure G, an ordinance that if approved would encourage development within the Redlands Transit Villages Planning Area.

An impartial analysis of Measure G prepared by City Attorney Daniel J, McHugh states that the quality of life will be enhanced by increasing the use of public transit, facilitating the creation of and improvement to walkable mixed used communities, and decreasing automobile use within the transit villages.

“If approved by Redlands’ voters, Measure G would exempt new development within the City’s TVPA from the development constraints imposed by the provisions of the 1978 voter‐approved measure known as Proposition R, as that proposition was amended by the 1987 voter‐approved measure known as Measure N, and the 1997 voter‐approved measure known as Measure U,” said McHugh.  “Only Redlands voters may change the provisions of measures R, N and U.”

Voter-approved measures R, N and U prohibit more than 400 residential dwelling units being constructed within the city in any year, however, recent state legislation has suspended the city’s enforcement of this limitation through the year 2025, said McHugh.  

“Approval of Measure G permanently exempts residential dwelling units constructed within the transit villages from the 400 dwelling unit limitations,” he said.

Regardless of the results, measures R, N and U would continue to apply to development on land located outside the Transit Villages, he said.

The Transit Villages Planning Area is an approximate 782-acre area in downtown and described as the lands within a half-mile radius from any of the three planned Redlands Passenger Rail Project transit stations within the city, explains the analysis.

Measure G does not involve or approve any specific development project within the Transit Villages, said McHugh.

Actual residential densities may exceed 18 dwelling units per acre and up to a 27 unit per acre maximum, upon a four-fifths vote of the council and findings.  If approved, Measure G will eliminate the vote and findings.

City codes prohibit construction of buildings two stories or 35 feet in height except upon a four-fifths vote of the council. If approved, Measure G would eliminate General Plan height limitation.

Measure G would also eliminate requirements of socioeconomic-cost/benefit studies.

Opponents to the measure, including resident Larry Leonard, argue that if Measure G passes Redlands’ historic downtown could experience overcrowding, increased traffic congestion, parking problems, views limited by increased building heights, policing and security issues, increased water usage and stress on the already failing sewer system.

“Will you vote for more density, crowding and loss of control over what happens to the future of your city or for keeping Proposition R and Measures N and U along with the 4/5 vote in place?” questioned Leonard recently.

A rebuttal to the argument against Measure G, signed by all council members on Tuesday, Dec. 17, states that a no vote will set Redlands’ progress back and lead to “more crime, homelessness, loitering and increased traffic.”

 “It will also prevent the Redlands Mall from ever being redeveloped and hurt small businesses that desperately want to see the Redlands Mall rehabbed to improve downtown access,” states the rebuttal.

According to the rebuttal, the Redlands Police Officers Association and Redlands Professional Firefighters Association endorse Measure G.

Jon Darby, owner of Darby’s American Cantina in downtown, told the Redlands Community News, that like him, many community members worry about the future of the Redlands Mall and many are frustrated with increased Homelessness in the city, a lack of parking and attainable housing for residents.

“In partnership with fellow Redlands business owners, public safety officials, realtors, and community members I have launched an effort to ensure that Measure G passes and that Redlands remains a desirable and safe community to live, work, own a business and raise a family,” said Darby, who serves as assistant treasurer of the Redlands Public Safety Alliance, Yes on G.

According to the Fair Political Practices Commission, the Alliance received a $34,000 contribution on Monday, Dec. 23, from Vantageone Real Estate Investment, LLC, based in Newport Beach.  Efforts to reach Vantageone were in vain.  

John Berry, spokesman for the Redlands Tea Party Patriots, questioned the contribution from an outside developer.  

“And no wonder, 8K new residents is the official estimate. But if you do the math, we’re looking at 27K new residents in the TVA between Alabama and Judson,” said Berry.

Measure G forum

In an attempt to answer general questions about what Measure G will or will not do for Redlands, Mayor Paul Foster and Mayor pro tem Denise Davis will host a forum from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22. The location has yet to be announced.

Participants will have the opportunity to get details and ask questions.