The proposed development of the England Grove Estate is on the City Council’s agenda for Tuesday, July 20. It is like the bottom of the ninth in this game, whether you are counting city meetings or speaking metaphorically.  

The Rancho Cucamonga-based company’s game plan has changed little. They started out going right for the fence with 30 good-size houses on undersized lots on a gated private street. The gate play is now out. The house count is down to 28. Two had to be sacrificed to slide in under the “open space” rule. A thirsty orange grove still holds the field, for now.

During the COVID delay, locals slugged away with what they had: door hangers, circulars, written comments to commissions and newspapers, social media, whatever.

They were muted during ZOOM meetings. They did not have face-to-face contact with the influential, unlike the developer’s team and the club of anonymous investors.

Pandemic regulations may have hurt the neighborhood team.

Officiating has been mixed so far. The aptly named Development Department is all in for … wait for it … the development! Big surprise.  The Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission called the developer out for failing to touch base on an environmental requirement.  Most of the Planning Commission apparently didn’t ‘see’ the missed touch, and then gave a wink to building variances clearly out of bounds.

The rule book may yet determine the outcome under City Hall’s lights late on Tuesday night. Fans of the grove will be watching to see whether Measure U’s ‘March ‘97 lot of record’ line will be enforced or ignored. Will the developer’s bunt to R-S zone regulations be called foul?

The home field crowd has been restless this season and could still have an impact on the contest. A replay on the environmental call is not out of the question. It doesn’t look good for the underfunded underdogs, but there’s still a chance that this could go in to extra innings.

And like Yogi said…

Richard O’Donnell, Redlands