Pomona is seeking to temporarily halt the construction of warehouses to reduce the impact of such projects on the roads, the environment and the health of its residents.
The City Council this month discussed steps it could take to suspend warehouse approvals as the city and the surrounding region have experienced increased interest in land development and redevelopment of industrial area.
In a 5-1 vote Monday, June 6, the council supported drafting a moratorium and strategy package to address the cumulative storage impacts in Pomona. Council member Robert Torres voted against the measures. Council member Steve Lustro was absent.
Torres said he dismissed the move over concerns about possible job losses and wanted to see a more complete explanation on the moratorium from city staff. While Torres said he supports the feeling after the ban, the temporary break would not “balance business needs for this community”.
Anita Gutierrez, director of development services, said the council move would not be a complete ban on warehouses, but a “pause” for the city to look at its area code to make sure it is done better and is done properly.
As part of the council’s action, an update of city area laws that is currently underway – and has not seen revisions since 1949 – will include land use designations to better regulate industrial areas. By setting certain standards for warehouses, the city can better regulate the long-term impacts of these projects, officials said.
Moreover, a warehouse tax is under consideration for an upcoming ballot. The tax would generate funds to offset costs to repair roads damaged by large trucks and implement right of way improvements, the city said.
A full analysis of the proposed measure and potential revenue will come after the city determines which plots may be subject to the tax and which services related to industrial land use may be improved.
A full analysis can be submitted within 60 days, which means that the August 12 deadline to introduce a voting measure for the November 2022 elections can be met if the council chooses to pursue this option.
Meanwhile, an element of environmental justice will be added to the city’s overall plan to include a set of principles that can be incorporated into the future development framework.
According to a report prepared for the council meeting, without any regulations in place, the city is likely to have growing consequences from truck traffic, poor warehouse design and quality of life for those living nearby. To address these concerns, the council is expected to consider an immediate 45-day moratorium on such facilities at its July 18 meeting.
The temporary ban will give the city time to study warehouses and their impact on the community and craft policies to address any negative impacts that are moving forward. The council may extend the moratorium twice.
Currently, Pomona zoning laws and city code provide limited environmental protection for new warehouse developments.
“Storage and distribution are rightfully allowed as land use, which means that it is allowed in existing buildings without a public hearing or other discretionary review,” said a report prepared for the council.
The suggested framework for a moratorium would ban citywide any new speculative industrial development and new storage developments, in addition to extensions of existing businesses no larger than 20,000 square feet. It would also stop the addition of any new truck facilities across the city.
The moratorium will allow all other industrial uses, such as manufacturing, to continue.
Other cities that have previously adopted similar moratoriums include Cino, Colton, River bank AND Jurupa Valley. Meanwhile, Redlands approved a temporary ban on non-residential development in a part of town on June 7 and is set to discuss the option of a city-wide measure later this month.
While the growing demand for warehouse space is a sign of a growing logistics and e-commerce economy, often these projects are built near colorful communities, si Pomona. This forces many neighbors to absorb the oil discharge from the warehouse activities.
According to a state tool using registration tract informationmost of Pomona is considered “disadvantaged” based on a range of public health variables including ozone levels, pesticide use, toxic emissions, traffic, drinking water pollutants, lead in dwellings, treatment sites, groundwater threats, and hazardous waste.
“Almost all of Pomona is already considered a community disadvantaged by those standards.” said Gutierrez at the June 6 meeting.
What separates Pomona from other cities experiencing growing demand for warehouse space is that redevelopment is taking place in existing older industrial buildings, much built before 2000. This means that many of these new projects will to be located in areas already affected in the city.
This is different from what is commonly seen in the most populous cities in the Inner Empire, where vacant plots or the annexation of new uncorrupted lands take place.
“It hurts our community, it hurts our neighbors and not in the short term, in the long term,” said Ron Cobas, a member of Pure Pomona, green, in a meeting. “Air pollution and traffic are just two of those effects, we can not accept that.”
Another concerned resident who spoke at the meeting was Linda Hinojos, co-founder of United Voices of Pomona, who said she has advocated for residents living in industrial areas in the southeastern part of the city, including her parents.
“You, the council, have the opportunity to powerfully shape the trajectory of our industrial zones and city and undo the wrongs done by those before you,” Hinojos said.
Council member Nora Garcia, who previously demanded that the magazine item be placed on a future agenda, said the discussion was delayed.
She said she found similarities in what residents face in her District 3 compared to those in North Pomona in 2021 when Carvana operations at Fairplex ended after community outrage because of the large trucks passing near their homes. Those residents urged the city to take action because of a “quality of life issue,” Garcia said.
“The only difference I see in these magazines and the Carvana affair is that my friends, family and neighbors do not have the economic power or sometimes the knowledge to fight for themselves,” Garcia said at the meeting.
The council has previously adopted directives to address the cumulative impacts of other similar businesses such as waste yardswhich were banned in 2017. Two years later, several truck lanes that contributed to cumulative impacts on nearby residents were also eliminated.
Pomona considers 45-day moratorium on new warehouses – Daily Bulletin Source link Pomona considers 45-day moratorium on new warehouses – Daily Bulletin