SB Planning Commission Recommending San Manuel Tribe Get Airport Warehouse Nod

A seven-ninths strength San Bernardino Planning Commission on Tuesday gave the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians a green light to proceed with a 1.1-million-square-foot warehouse to be located just north of San Bernardino International Airport.
Having bagged the endorsement of the planning commission, it appears a certainty that the tribe will within the next 60 days get go-ahead from the San Bernardino City Council to proceed with the project.
Known as “San Manuel Landing,” the project will be located on a 53-acre parcel south of Third Street between Victoria and Central avenues. The property is owned by the tribe, the San Bernardino International Airport Authority (SBIAA) and the Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA). SBIAA is a joint powers authority involving the cities of San Bernardino, Highland, Loma Linda and Colton as well as the County of San Bernardino, devoted to the civilian conversion of former Norton Air Force Base into a publicly-owned and operated airport. IVDA is a joint powers authority involving the cities of San Bernardino, Loma Linda and Colton and the County of San Bernardino, dedicated to the development of the property surrounding the airport.
According to documents relating to the project application, San Manuel Landing would be a massive warehouse/distribution center that is to feature 113 truck docking stations/rolling doors on the north side of the building and 105 docking stations with rolling doors into the facility on the south side. When functioning at full capacity, the warehouse will entail activity involving nearly 2,500 daily vehicle trips into and out of the site.
The project’s proponents said the project will be an environmentally sound and sensitive one in that it will exceed so-called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. LEED is an environmentally-friendly building certification program used worldwide that was developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council. It includes rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of buildings, homes, and neighborhoods aimed to assist building owners and business operators in being environmentally responsible and in using resources efficiently.
Solar panels are to be incorporated into the structure’s design, and there will be electric vehicle charging stations on the grounds of the facility. The landscaping for the project is to be drought-tolerant in nature.
Despite those elements of the project and other precautions taken, the environmental impact report for the project states that all mitigation measures to be applied to the project will not fully offset the impacts of the project. According to that environmental impact report, there will be “significant and unavoidable environmental effects” in the areas of traffic, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and sound.
Some nearby residents expressed concern that the project will have downsides that will impact them.
Kathryn Lopez, noting that “San Bernardino Valley already has a significant air quality problem,” said “Our community deserves better policies and a community benefits agreement for quality development to be created in our neighborhood. We need sustainable development in our city.”
A community benefits agreement is a commitment or contract signed by community groups and a real estate developer stipulating that the developer will provide specific amenities and/or mitigations to the local community or neighborhood where the project in question is to be constructed. In exchange, the community groups agree to either publicly support the project or desist from opposing it.
Ultimately, the majority of the commissioners present were persuaded by the project itself and advocates touting it that it should proceed. One of those in favor of it was Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce President Edward Ornelas, who said the project will complement “the recent growth at San Bernardino International Airport.”
On-line retail behemoth Amazon has established a 660,000-square foot regional air hub on 101 acres south of the airport, west of Victoria Avenue and south of Third Street.
San Manuel Landing is within San Bernardino’s city limits but abuts the city’s boundary with Highland.
David Drake, a development consultant with Trammell Crow Co. who is working with the tribe, said no specific tenant or tenants to occupy the warehouse has or have been signed up to occupy the building.
With commissioners Elizabeth Sanchez and Larry Quiel absent, the commission voted 6-to1, with Monique Guerrero, Amelia Lopez, Anthony Jones, Edward Woolbert, Helen Chang and Harmoni Morales prevailing and Jesus Flores in opposition to recommend the project’s approval to the city council.
-Mark Gutglueck

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