Chino Third To Try & Second To Actually Suspend Warehouse Development This Year

On Tuesday, October 19, Chino became the second city in San Bernardino County to impose on the development industry what is being introduced as a 45-day moratorium on the application for and further processing of warehouse construction permitting.
Chino joined the cities of Colton and San Bernardino in seeking to introduce such a ban. As was the case with Colton, which put its ban in place in May and has since extended it, Chino succeeded. San Bernardino’s proposal to suspend warehouse building, though favored in June by five of its seven council members, failed to achieve adoption, as passage of a building moratorium in California must take place on a vote of four-fifths or more of the elected decision-making body with land use authority in any particular jurisdiction.
The measure the Chino City Council put in place this week was identical to the temporary suspensions both San Bernardino and Colton considered insofar as the ban can be extended from 45 days to a year, and then from a year to two years, if the council makes a determination that should be done. Chino’s action differs from the proposals San Bernardino and Colton had before their councils in that it applies only to a specified part of the city, while those two municipalities were seeking to temporarily discontinue such construction generally within their city limits.
Chino’s action does not impact projects that are already under way or for which the application process has been completed. It extends to any projects for which an application has not yet been made and to applications that have been filed but which have not yet been completely processed.
Covered under the Chino ban is property readily available and properly zoned for warehousing, and therefore most likely to be coveted by warehouse developers, those being the southwest triangle at Monte Vista and Chino avenues, the northeast corner of Yorba and Schaefer avenues and the southwest corner of Chino and Central avenues.
As was the case in Colton and San Bernardino, members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which represents construction workers involved in the construction of tilt-up buildings, were present Tuesday to oppose the moratorium.
In the last two decades, San Bernardino County has seen an explosion in the construction of warehouses, partially because of its location within Southern California, which involves large port facilities in San Pedro and Long Beach, both of which land massive amounts of merchandise from manufacturers in Asia brought across the Pacific Ocean by ship. That cargo is offloaded onto trains and trucks and distributed throughout much of the country. In this way the Inland Empire has become a major logistics center.
Nevertheless, with more and more land locally being consumed by warehouses and distribution centers, some have begun to second guess the wisdom of allotting so much property, which could be developed for what many consider to be better purposes, for the building of warehouses.
Increasingly, some elected officials, local residents and futurists are questioning whether warehouses constitute the highest and best use of the property available for development in the region. And while logistics facilities in modern times must be part of any land use mix, there is an argument to be made that there is a need to maintain a balance between such operations – or at least the quarters for such operations, as many of them stand empty – and other types of development. In refuting the assertions of the proponents of warehouses that they constitute positive economic development, their detractors cite the relatively poor pay and benefits provided to those who work in distribution facilities, the large diesel-powered semi-trucks that are part of those operations with their unhealthy exhaust emissions, together with the bane of traffic gridlock they create.
Councilman Walt Pocock indicated that he could have in good conscience supported a 45-day moratorium on the acceptance of or processing of warehouse construction applications, but that he did not want to initiate action that would clear the way for a two-year discontinuation of development activity.
Councilwoman Karen Comstock offered her rationale for suspending warehouse development long enough to reassess what the proper balance of that sort of land use should be.
“We don’t have much land left in Chino, and I think it’s worth preserving and evaluating whether or not these parcels are suitable,” she said.

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