Fontana Welcomes Another Warehouse Project, This Time In Its Northwest Corner

At its January 14 meeting, the Fontana City Council approved the development of another warehouse project, in this case one that will be built in the city’s northwestern quadrant.
In giving go-ahead to the 76,809-square-foot structure, the four members of the city council present signed off on a site plan and architectural review of the project, as well as approving a general plan amendment, a specific plan amendment and changing the city’s general plan land use map on eight parcels from general commercial (C-G) to light industrial, while altering the West End Specific Plan zoning from commercial light industrial (CLI) to rail service industrial (BP3).
Though the warehouse is to be located on 3.25 acres on the south side of Hilton Drive and east of Redwood Avenue, the overall acreage amended by the council’s action extended to approximately 8.25 gross acres. That action signals that in the future, more warehouses will likely be developed on  adjoining properties.
This project was considered by the Fontana Planning Commission at its November 19, 2019 meeting. After hearing staff’s presentation, the commission heard from the project applicant, James T. Fong, whereupon  it voted 5-to-0 to adopt a resolution approving the project. The project was scheduled for a city council public hearing on December 10, 2019; however, the project was continued due to a lack of quorum.
According to Fontana Director of Community Development Zai AbuBakar, “The proposed building totals approximately 76,809 square feet.  The concrete tilt-up warehouse building has been designed for two potential offices. The office/mezzanine is approximately 7,000 square feet. The offices are located on the northeast and northwest corner of the building.  The building will incorporate architectural features consisting of glazing, towers, and painted banding in gray tone colors which will add structural and visual interest to the building.  Additionally, variations to the building face and roof lines, with tower elements proposed at 37 feet, will be architecturally pleasing and be consistent with the surrounding buildings. The main focal point will be the front elevation of the building facing Hilton Drive. The glazing and wall articulation are carried to the side elevations because they are also visible from the street. The site will be accessed by two driveways along Hilton Drive. Both driveways will accommodate commercial truck and passenger car traffic. The building has unloading/loading areas for trucks to the south of the building completely screened from the public right-of-way. In addition, landscaping is also proposed along the perimeter of the site. The project site is physically suitable in size and shape to support the development of the proposed warehouse building.”
The project was approved unanimously,  4-to-0, my the council members present, Mayor Acquanetta Warren and councilmen Jesse Armendarez, Phillip Cothran, and John Roberts. Not present at the meeting was Councilman Jesse Sandoval.
In recent years, Fontana has approved a spate of warehouse projects, both within its city limits and its sphere of influence. Consistently Warren, Armendarez, Cothran and Roberts have proven to be in favor of the addition of warehousing. Sandoval has consistently opposed it.
There has been growing public opposition to warehouse development in Fontana and elsewhere in the Inland Empire, as residents and environmentalists as well as social activists have expressed concerns about possible health, environmental, and traffic impacts, as well as inveighing against the relatively low wages paid to workers in the warehouse industry.
Warren, who heads the city’s ruling coalition which features Armendarez, Cothran and Roberts as members, maintains the development of warehouses represents economic enrichment for the area. This has earned for Warren the disrespectful sobriquet “Warehouse Warren,” which she, in defiance of her critics, wears and touts as a badge of honor.
-Mark Gutglueck

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