TIMELINE OF THE REDLANDS CROSSING PROJECT
The Redlands Crossing Project, anchored by a Walmart supercenter, has been in discussion for several years.
The project is a 256,614-square foot retail and commercial center that is scheduled to be built on land at San Bernardino Avenue and Tennessee Street.
A number of retailers are expected to fill the center as well.
Walmart announces its intent to build a supercenter in Redlands across the street from a new high school in early stages of construction.
August: Redlands Good Neighbor Coalition is formed to "maintain the unique character" of Redlands by supporting small, locally owned business and keeping supercenters from being built in town.
Sept. 16: The Environmental Review Committee holds a public scoping meeting on the Redlands Crossing Project. The Daily Facts reports that there was a large audience.
Building on Citrus Valley High School is complete and the school opens.
Feb. 3: The City Council unanimously approves a contract with consultant firm Michael Brandman Associates to prepare an environmental impact report for the Redlands Crossing Project.
March 16: The Environmental Impact Committee holds a public scoping meeting for the proposed Redlands Crossing Project. Robert Dalquest, assistant director of the city's Community Development Department, says the meeting was an early step in the project's environmental impact report process.
Oct. 14: The Redlands Good Neighbor Coalition carries two boxes containing more than 8,000 petition signatures into the City Clerk's office to put Measure O on the ballot. Measure O would ban "big-box" retailers that mean certain criteria from building in the city.
Nov. 17: Mayor Jon Harrison asks the council to consider a report on the economic effects of a proposed anti-big box development initiative. The report is to be completed by the council's Dec. 15 meeting and would cost as much as $20,000 to complete.
Feb. 16: City Council votes unanimously Tuesday to place Measure O on the June ballot.
June 1: A report shows that Walmart has spent about $340,000 to defeat Measure O. Contributions were made between Jan. 1 and May 22, but a coalition to defeat the effort was not formed until late March.
June 8: Redlanders vote no on Measure O, which, if approved, would have banned stores with sales floors totalling 100,000-square feet or more and where more than 3 percent of sales floor is dedicated to selling non-taxable merchandise.
Nov. 21: The draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for the Redlands Crossing Project is released, and outlines the proposed plan.
Mid-December: The city extends the comment period of the DEIR for the Redlands Crossing Project from Jan. 4 to 18 to allow the public additional time to review the document and submit comments that will be added to the final EIR.
Mid-January: City receives responses from the public regarding the Redlands Crossing Project's DEIR. The comments received were to be reviewed and included in the final EIR.
March 13: Planning Commission holds public forum to receive feedback on the proposed project. It draws a number of complaints from residents, which outweighed comments in favor of the project.
March 27: Dozens fill City Council Chambers to hear Walmart officials address concerns about the project from the Planning Commission and residents. The matter is postponed for discussion until April 10.
April 10: The Planning Commission votes to table talks on the proposed Redlands Crossing Project for two weeks to give the applicant more time to prepare answers to questions the board and residents had regarding the property.
April 24: Redlands Planning Commission recommends the project for City Council approval by a 6-1 vote. Commissioner Julie Rock opposes to the site plan, saying it looked out of place.
July 18: Hundreds attend a public hearing on the Redlands Crossing Project at Citrus Valley High School. More speak against the project than for.
Late August: Discussion about the project is continued to Oct. 2 at the request of Walmart to gather additional information requested by the City Council at a July public hearing on the matter. The meeting lasts more than four hours.
The council unanimously approves to continue the consideration of the Redlands Crossing Project to its next regular meeting date on Sept. 4. The discussion would be delayed a few more times by the applicant's request.
Oct. 16: City Council approves the Redlands Crossing Project short of midnight by a 4-1 vote. The meeting lasts almost seven hours. Mayor Pete Aguilar opposes.
November: Mayor Pro Tem Paul Foster and Councilman Jon Harrison meet with Walmart officials to discuss architecture around the Redlands Crossing Project to make it "more Redlands." Drawings are expected to be given to the city in early 2013.
Nov. 15: Lawsuit against the city of Redlands and Walmart Corp. is filed by Redlands Good Neighbor Coalition alleges that the City Council approved the project and its environmental impact report without adequately identifying the adverse impact the project could have on the environment within city limits.
Redlands Daily Facts archives contributed to this timeline.
REDLANDS - A spokesman for the Redlands Good Neighbor Coalition said Wednesday suing the city was always part of the group's strategy if the City Council approved Walmart's plans to build a supercenter.
The council on Oct. 16 approved the Redlands Crossing Project in north Redlands to be anchored by a Walmart supercenter.
The lawsuit was filed Nov. 15 in San Bernardino Superior Court.
"We have always thought about all avenues that we could go down to try and stop the project," Keith Osajima said. "We've been involved in this for over five years, so this decision was not a decision that we decided at the last minute."
In the lawsuit the organization alleges that the City Council approved the project and its environmental impact report, or EIR, without adequately identifying the adverse impact the project could have on the environment in the city.
The complaint is asking the court to void the council's approval of the project.
Wal-Mart Corp. is also named in the suit.
A court date to review suit the has not yet been set.
Briggs Law Corp. is representing the RGNC, which has been involved in the fight against the supercenter since the group's founding in 2007.
The group started its mission to stop the project by talking with members of the council on a one-on-one basis, said Osajima, adding that once the group made an assessment that the council was not going to stop the project, the organization worked to promote and collect signatures to have Measure O on the June 2010 ballot.
Enough signatures were collected and the council approved the measure to be on the ballot months prior to the June election.
In the meantime, Walmart spent thousands defeating the measure, which, if approved, would have prevented "big-box" retailers of a specified size to build in the city.
The measure failed.
"We then waited about 18 months or so for the (environmental impact) report to come out, and when it did, we went to the Planning Commission to voice our objections and questions about that report. And then we took our concerns to the City Council at the public meetings in July and October...so we've been doing lots of different things with the same purpose and goal in mind," Osajima said. "Once the City Council decided to approve the project, filing the legal lawsuit was probably the last avenue we could conceive."
After the Oct. 16 approval, Osajima said, his group met to discuss the decision. He said Wednesday that the decision to file suit was made shortly after the approval.
"We always thought this was part of the plan if the City Council would approve it," he said.
The city is currently responding to the complaint, said city spokesman Carl Baker.
Mayor Pete Aguilar said the council was notified of the suit during closed session at the Nov. 20 meeting. He did not provide any additional information.
Among the city's conditions for Walmart to proceed with the project, Walmart officials had to meet with a subcommittee to discuss ways to make the project more suitable to Redlands within 30 days of the approval.
The subcommittee - made up of Mayor Pro Tem Paul Foster and Councilman Jon Harrison - met with store officials two weeks ago, Foster said.
"I believe we reached an agreement on (architectural) changes that will enhance the building," he said. "It won't change it completely, but will bring subtle touches that will make people feel it is a bit more `Redlands."'
He said officials seemed on board with the ideas he and Harrison presented, including some exterior facade work, the incorporation of additional shaded archways and art panels on the building itself.
Foster said the committee and Walmart officials are scheduled to meet after the holidays, but did not have a specific date.
Though he would not talk specifics, Foster said he is not surprised that a suit has been filed.
"The gentleman that filed the lawsuit...makes his practice (to) find groups like the Good Neighbor Coalition to sue municipal jurisdictions that have Walmart projects approved," he said. "He recently lost a lawsuit in Ontario, and the city is moving ahead with its project."
While both the city and Walmart are named in the suit, per the agreement made by the corporation and the council to approve the Redlands Crossing Project, the company will cover any legal costs that may come Redlands' way.
If the company does not follow through with its word, the council has the option of revoking the conditions of approval, Baker said.
Contact Kristina via email, by phone at 909-259-9321, or on Twitter @TheFactsKris.