Fontana approves plans to build seven warehouses in southeastern part of town
This article was first published March 13, 2019 on the Daily Bulletin.
A policy analyst with an environmental justice group called the vote on Tuesday, March 12, “unwise and negligent”
Fontana city leaders on Tuesday, March 12, approved plans for a massive industrial business park in the southeastern part of town. (Photo by Brian Whitehead, The Sun/SCNG)
A massive industrial business park is pegged for southeastern Fontana after city leaders this week approved plans to build seven warehouses totaling 3.4 million square feet on about 290 acres near Bloomington and Jurupa Valley.
After hearing from those for and against the West Valley Logistics Center, Mayor Acquanetta Warren and Councilmen Phillip Cothran Jr. and Jesse Armendarez voted Tuesday, March 12, for the project, which calls for satisfactory street improvements to be made nearby before construction can begin in earnest.
Councilman Jesse Sandoval was the lone dissenter.
Councilman John Roberts, who owns property adjacent to the project site, recused himself from the discussion.
“I have every hope that these buildings will be occupied by manufacturing,” Warren said ahead of the vote. “Fontana has 408 manufacturing companies to our knowledge … and we continue to look at apprenticeships so employers can look at people for who they are and their training. A lot of manufacturers in this town are training people.
“This project has got so much potential.”
The West Valley Logistics Center will go at a site previously master planned for as many as 1,154 homes, an elementary school and private and joint-use recreational facilities.
As part of the development agreement, the applicant, Florida-based UST-CB Partners, will pay Fontana $19 million for offsite park improvements.
According to the applicant, up to 4,000 temporary jobs will be created during construction. Some 2,000 permanent jobs will follow.
Before city leaders heard from about 20 public speakers Tuesday, the applicant put the project’s total economic contribution to the area at more than $740 million.
Those for the West Valley Logistics Center included area union workers who said working on the planned warehouses would keep them close to home. Those against included state and regional elected officials, the San Bernardino County departments of Public Works and Land Use Services and several environmental justice organizations.
Jurupa Valley city leaders and Bloomington representatives also opposed the project over concerns with air quality and health, traffic, safety and other unavoidable impacts.
Andrea Vidaurre, policy analyst for the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, called Fontana’s decision “unwise and negligent.”
“It’s clear that the land use in this area isn’t meant for industrial use,” she said, “and yet, the council voted against the will of the people.”
Following the vote, Karen Coleman, a longtime Fontana resident who has contested other warehousing plans in the area, conveyed exasperation with Fontana’s penchant for approving such projects despite seemingly universal opposition from the community.
These projects “make everything so cheap,” she said. “All the things you were taught, all the things you hear, prayers you hear before the meeting that say ‘We’re better than this.’ Are we really better than this? Are we really?
“It’s frightening to me,” she added. “It’s so hard to get five people to do something. And you had a whole room full of people (against the project) and it doesn’t matter.”