SB County, Wiener & Beard Recirculating Impacts Assay For Bloomington Truck Transport Project

In a relatively rare progression of events, more than three months after the San Bernardino County Planning Commission recommended that the board of supervisors allow the development of a truck terminal in Bloomington to proceed, the county land use services department is recirculating the environmental certification document for the project.
On July 22, over substantial community opposition, the San Bernardino County Planning Commission voted 3-to-1 with one abstention to enter a finding that proponents of the project, developers David Wiener and Scott Beard, should be given a conditional use permit and zone change altering the existing general commercial zoning to service commercial land use so the project could proceed to completion.
The facility was initially described by county and San Bernardino County Senior Planner Anthony DeLuca, who is serving as the lead staff assignee on the project, as a “truck terminal.” The county is now referring to the facility as a trailer storage yard.
The project, located on a 9-acre parcel at 10746 Cedar Cedar Avenue in Bloomington, upon completion would provide storage for trailers during delivery off-seasons and/or between deliveries, and would run seven days a week and 24 hours a day, with an average of more than 700 truck trips into or out of the terminal daily. The facility is to include 275 parking spaces in total, 260 spaces of which will be 12 feet by 55 feet. The proposed project includes a 2,400 square-foot building for office use and storage, an approximate 250 square-foot guard shack, and a 4,800 square-foot maintenance shop with four repair bays.
At the planning commission meeting on July 22, 14 Bloomington residents spoke before the commission in opposition to the project. Prior to the meeting, the county’s land use services department had received 126 letters of concern or opposition to allowing the truck terminal to be located on the property previously intended for commercial rather than logistics/industrial/service/repair use. Nevertheless, the planning commission entered a 3-to-1 decision to endorse the project, with commissioners Jonathan Weldy, Michael Stoffel and Tom Haughey prevailing, Commissioner Kareem Gongora dissenting and Commissioner Raymond Allard recusing himself. Allard said he was not voting because he had previously done engineering work for both Wiener and Beard.
There were hints but no explicit acknowledgment that the project is to be the eventual headquarters/regional office/operating yard for a trucking company.
Bloomington is a 6.01-square mile unincorporated community with 25,482 residents, bounded by Rialto on its east and northeast sides, Fontana on its west and northwest sides and the Riverside County line on its south side. Traditionally, Bloomington has been an agricultural community which has over the last 60 years transitioned into a heavily used transportation corridor because of four major east west arterials that traverse it – Valley Blvd, Slover Avenue, Jurupa Avenue and Santa Ana Avenue, all of which lead to or toward Ontario International Airport – as well as the I-10 Freeway and the Santa Fe/Burlington Northern/Union Pacific rail line. The community is saturated with over one hundred illegal truck-related operations. Simultaneously, the county has been permitting trucking-related operations and warehouses to be built within the community, while Fontana and Rialto have given approval to trucking related concerns and warehouses at the periphery of Bloomington.
Thus, a significant segment of Bloomington residents find themselves in a struggle against local government and elements within the community itself pushing toward reinventing the unincorporated town into a transit center.
The county is using a mitigated negative declaration to provide the project with its environmental certification, rather than a more comprehensive environmental impact report.
A full scale environmental impact report is the most intensive form of environmental certification, involving a study of the project site, the project proposal, the potential and actual impacts the project will have on the site and surrounding area in terms of all conceivable issues, including land use, water use, air quality, potential contamination, noise, traffic, biological and cultural resources, as well as health impacts on individuals living or working in proximity to the project. An environmental impact report specifies in detail what measures can, will and must be carried out to offset those impacts.
A mitigated negative declaration is a far less exacting size-up of the impacts of a project than an environmental impact report, involving the panel entrusted with a community’s ultimate land use authority, in this case the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, considering an initial study of the project completed by county staff and thereafter issuing a declaration that all adverse environmental impacts from the project will be mitigated, or offset, by the conditions of approval of the project imposed upon the developer.
There was some discussion of local residents banding together to challenge the project approval, hinging on the county having failed to carry out a more exacting form of environmental certification.
The county’s discontinuation of the use of the term “truck terminal” in reference to the project in the immediate aftermath of the planning commission’s vote in July, seen as an effort to minimize the intensity of the planned operation, appeared to be an indication that the project would be given approval in short order, and would come before the board of supervisors in August or certainly no later than September. September passed, as did October, and the project was not presented to the board of supervisors for its approval.
Word has now reached the Sentinel that the environmental certification documentation, yet using the nomenclature of a mitigated negative declaration, is being recirculated around the Bloomington community. A recirculated notice of availability and notice of intent to adopt an initial study/mitigated negative declaration states that the documentation consisting of an initial study, a health risk assessment, a biological assessment, a cultural report, a noise study, and a traffic study can be examined and are subject to a comment period lasting from November 1, 2021 until November 30, 2021 at 4:30 PM. The notice instructs those wishing to weigh in on the matter to “submit comments to or to Anthony DeLuca, Senior Planner County of San Bernardino Land Use Services Department, Planning Division 385 N. Arrowhead Ave 1st Floor San Bernardino, CA 92415.” Those documents are available online at
The Sentinel made inquiries with the county as to the reason why the documentation relating to an initial study and mitigated negative declaration, which had already been circulated prior to the planning commission meeting in July, was being recirculated. The Sentinel further inquired if what was circulated previously differed from what is being circulated now and, if it is different, whether the changes were made at the direction of the planning commission. The Sentinel asked if the changes in fact were not made at the direction of the planning commission, who had dictated the changes.
Neither DeLuca nor David Wert, the county’s main spokesman, had responded to those questions by press time.
Neither did DeLuca nor Wert clarify why the public response to the previously circulated documentation would not provide adequate citizen input along with the planning commission recommendation for the board of supervisors to make its decision on whether the truck terminal project should be permitted to proceed.
The Sentinel was not able to determine whether a change was or changes were made to the original proposal to render the project more acceptable to the board of supervisors, and if so, what was altered to make it more acceptable.
Mark Gutglueck

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