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Environmental group sues San Bernardino County, developer over warehouse project in Bloomington

Residents Enrique Jaime and wife, Carmen, are unhappy with the proposed 334,00 square feet “high cube” warehouse project near their home in Bloomington on Thursday, June 28, 2018. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

This article was first published October 31, 2018 on the San Bernardino Sun.

 

An environmental justice group is suing San Bernardino County supervisors and developer JM Realty Group over the recent commercialization of 17 acres of residential land in Bloomington for the construction of a 344,000-square-foot warehouse.

Filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court this week by Earthjustice, an environmental law nonprofit headquartered in San Francisco, the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice claims a 292-page, state-mandated report concerning the warehouse project’s environmental impacts on the area was inadequate.

County supervisors “acted with inconceivable neglect by approving a warehouse project that fails to consider the health and safety of Bloomington families,” said Ericka Flores, a senior organizer at the Jurupa Valley-based Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice. “Land-use decisions should be made to benefit working-class communities, not harm them.”

The Slover Distribution Center is planned for the intersection of Slover and Laurel avenues in unincorporated Bloomington, near homes and schools.

San Bernardino County supervisors heard from dozens of residents, labor workers and local elected officials this summer before approving the project by a 4-1 vote in September. Supervisor James Ramos was the lone dissenter.

While the site is less than 1,000 feet from Bloomington High School, less than a mile from Ruth O. Harris Middle School and even closer to homes, it is across the street from a pair of warehouses and within a corridor that’s perfect for industrial development, county staffers have said.

“The county maintains it complied with (the California Environmental Quality Act) every step of the way,” county spokesman David Wert said Wednesday, Oct. 31. “The county maintains that, in our judgement, the (Environmental Impact Report) was adequate and the board’s action was appropriate.

According to Earthjustice, the environmental report failed to disclose or analyze such factors as the project’s aesthetic, air quality, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, land use, noise and traffic impacts. Additionally, the suit contends, the report failed to consider cumulative impacts associated with the other proposed logistics centers in the area.

The suit claims that as a result, the report failed to adequately mitigate those impacts and adopt feasible alternatives.

Earthjustice argues in the suit that in approving the project, San Bernardino County supervisors “prejudicially abused their discretion by certifying an EIR that does not comply with CEQA.”

The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice seeks to void the final environmental report, withdraw all approvals of the project and prohibit the county from granting any further approvals for the project until an adequate environmental report is reviewed.

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