"Gracious neighborhoods,” “rolling hills” and “views across the valley” make Redlands one of the most desirable places to live in the Inland Empire, says the city website — that is, if the buyer qualifies for houses above the $400,000 range.
An online search for new homes in Redlands yields several options, including Judson Ranch, with houses ranging between 2,129-square-feet to 3,300-square feet. Depending on the model, starting in the low $400,000, solar electric is included.
Another option for buyers is The Meadows, which pitches proximity to major employers in the region, including Amazon. Home prices in this community start at $484,990.
A third option is Solstice, a collection of one- to two-story, single-family homes, centrally located near shops, restaurants and the vibrant arts scene, pitches the developing company. Here, home prices start at the price tag of $629,990.
In a special meeting on Sept. 30, the Redlands Planning Commission approved construction of the LuxView Luxury Living apartment complex. According to architect Gary Miller, rent prices for similar complexes range between $1,400 per month for a studio and $2,400 for a two-bedroom apartment.
Miller said the project would satisfy demand for luxury housing wanted by medical professionals in the area. The project was sent to City Council for final approval.
On Sept.17, the council approved one-year extension to secure funds to build Liberty Lane, an 80-unit apartment complex proposed across from Texonia Park, The project aims to reduce homelessness and help house veterans. It cost $36 million to be constructed.
According to Mee Heh Ridson, director of housing for A Community of Friends, a yearlong lawsuit challenging the project caused the applicant to lose funding. However, the project will be funded, Ridson said.
Redlands Section 8
Many residents rely on rental assistance.
According to the San Bernardino County Housing Authority, almost 18,000 people signed up for Section 8 housing vouchers in February. Last year, 25,000 households applied for the Tenant-Based Voucher Program.
The Housing Authority approved 10,120 Section 8 assistance approvals, including 536 in Redlands. Another 375 Redlands households were assisted through other housing support programs in 2018.
California had a gross state product of $2.92 billion in 2018, according to Forbes magazine. It is the fifth biggest economy in the world. However, according to the Census Bureau, the state has the highest level of functional poverty of any state in the country averaging 18.2 percent of its almost 40 million residents.
A study conducted by Quinnipiac University in March indicated that 43 percent of the voters can’t afford to live in California because of the high housing prices. The $550,000 median home price and $2,750 median monthly rent, are forcing many to move out of state.
To address the housing crisis, the California Legislature this year approved bills to ease zoning restrictions and to expedite approval for the so-called accessory dwelling units. These units were made legal in 2017 and allowed property owners to build tiny homes in the backyard and convert garages into “granny flat” housing.
Senate Bill 13, introduced by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat from San Francisco, addresses the issue of high permit fees and other obstacles to develop these units. Assembly Bill 881, introduced by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica, removes owner-occupancy requirements, while AB 68, introduced by Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, allows for two units on the same property.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto bills from this session.
Newsom promised to sign yet another bill that would put a cap to annual rent increases. AB 1482, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu, proposes a a 5 percent cap on rent hikes and offers new barriers to eviction, directly benefiting 8 million residents.
In Redlands, the council closed public input on a proposed ballot initiative regarding voter-approved land use initiatives measures U and N, and Proposition R, on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Measure U, approved in 1997, enacted several principles of managed development within the city. This initiative allows sufficient development of housing consistent with existing zoning within the city to meet the regional fair share housing obligations for the foreseeable future.
According to city staff, if the proposed ballot initiative is approved by voters it would allow the council to consider future projects within the Transit Villages Planning Area (TVPA) without the annual residential dwelling unit limitations.
“New residential units, specifically residential units in multifamily projects, within the TVPA could be financed more efficiently and constructed faster than the current regulations would permit,” according to the city. “Future city discretionary actions relating to proposed development within the TVPA would not be constrained by the General Plan limitations contained in Measure U and the zoning restrictions in Proposition R, as amended by Measure N.”
If approved, the city’s 400 dwelling unit annual limitation on construction of residential dwelling units would not be applicable within the transit villages. Residential densities may be increased within the planning areas from 18 to 27 units per acre without a super-majority (4-1) vote of the members of council and the necessity of making certain findings. Standard traffic requirements would not apply.
In addition, the prohibition against the creation of new land use designations would not apply within the transit villages and socio-economic studies would not be required for development projects within the planning areas.
If voters approve the initiative on the March 3 ballot, the initiative would amend the 1978 voter-approved initiative zoning measures known as Proposition R, which was amended in 1987 by Measure N, and the 1997 voter-approved initiative Measure U.
Housing costs in Redlands
- Median price: $399,000, which is out of the range for many residents.
- Income needed: At that price, a buyer needs an annual income of at least $75,000 to own a home.
- Median income: $68,956 as of 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Average monthly rent for a 900-square-foot apartment: $1,559, a 6 percent increase compared to 2018, according to RENTcafe, a nationwide Internet listing service.
- Weekly hours worked to pay for an apartment: 32 hours per week of a person earning the minimum wage will go to rent only.
- Poverty rate: 15.3 percent, 3 percent more than the national rate.
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