In 52 days, Redlands voters will decide whether to lift housing growth restrictions in three “transit villages” around the three Redlands Passenger Rail stations.

It’s a great debate that will define the future and character of significant parts of Redlands. Measure G on the March 3 ballot would exempt the three transit villages from the limits on housing growth to 400 units per year, first imposed by Proposition U in 1978 and amended by Measure N in 1987 and Measure U in 1997.   

However, it might not make a difference for the next three years. Redlands City Attorney Daniel J. McHugh reports in his impartial analysis on page 12 that state legislation approved last year blocked the housing growth limitations until 2025 because of the housing crisis.

Senate Bill 35 was approved 23-14 in the state Senate and 47-27 in the Assembly, mostly on party lines. Redlands representatives Sen. Mike Morrell and then-Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, both Republicans, voted against it. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2017. Redlands was one of 91 California cities that opposed the legislation.

The state sued Huntington Beach for failing to meet the state-mandate housing goals. We have to wonder if Redlands might be at risk for failing to reach its housing goal in what now are considered high-density corridors.

It’s despicable that the state imposes its will on decisions that should be made at the local level, such as allowing granny flats despite the impact on city infrastructure or street vendors regardless of the impact on brick-and mortar businesses.

The argument in favor of Measure G — signed by all five council members — contends that rejecting the transit villages would imperil that redevelopment of the Redlands mall and other projects that should help revitalize the city’s economy.

Opponents say that allowing buildings as tall as five stories would block views of the mountains and increase traffic congestion. But reducing reliance on cars is the point of the transit villages.

The city wants to create a corridor that will rely on walking, bike riding and mass transit. This could reduce our carbon footprint, improve the health of residents who take the plunge to support the cause.

The Redlands Community News will take a position closer to the election. Meanwhile, we want to hear from you on every aspect of this debate. Will a high-density corridor revitalize the economy? Will residents of the transit villages give up their cars? Will you vote yes or no?

Please email your letters to editor@redlandscommunitynews.com and include your full name and phone number so we can confirm the letter.

The future of Redlands is in your hands.