Redlands Joins Colton And Chino As Third San Bernardino County City To Place Moratorium On Warehouses

Redlands has joined with the cities of Chino and Colton in imposing a temporary moratorium on the further construction of warehouses in San Bernardino County.
In October, Chino placed a 45-day moratorium on property readily available and properly zoned for warehousing, which lies primarily within the city’s southwest triangle formed by Monte Vista and Chino avenues, the northeast corner of Yorba and Schaefer avenues and the southwest corner of Chino and Central avenues.
In May 2021, Colton slapped a temporary, 45-day ban on warehouse development in that 16.04-square mile city, subsequently extending the ban to a full year.
One source, unverified by the Sentinel, holds that there are 3,013 warehouses in San Bernardino County and that in Ontario alone, there are 289 warehouses larger than 100,000 square feet. Reportedly, there are 142 warehouses in Fontana larger than 100,000 square feet.
Fontana has been so aggressive in building warehouses over the last ten years that the city’s mayor, Acquanetta Warren, is known by those who both oppose and favor warehouse development as “Warehouse Warren.” Last year, California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued Fontana over its affinity for warehouses, forcing the city into a settlement that calls for far greater regulation of the construction of logistics facilities in the city of 208,393.
In Chino there are 118 warehouses larger than 100,000 square feet, 109 larger than 100,000 square feet in Rancho Cucamonga and 75 larger than 100,000 square feet in San Bernardino. Since 2015, 26 warehouse projects have been processed and approved by the City of San Bernardino, entailing acreage under roof of 9,598,255 square feet, or more than one-third of a square mile, translating into 220.34 acres.
In June 2021, a five-sevenths majority of the San Bernardino City Council voted to declare a moratorium on further warehouse construction, but that measure was not put in place because to impose a moratorium on any specific type of building, California law requires that such a ban be passed by a four-fifths vote of a governmental entity’s legislative body. In San Bernardino, where the mayor is not empowered to vote, that means that six of the seven members of the council had to sign off on the moratorium.
After Ontario, Fontana, Chino, Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino, the city in San Bernardino County with the next largest number of warehouses of more than 100,000 square feet is Redlands, with 56, followed by Rialto with 47.
Redlands officials, both elected and staff, in recent months have been criticized for pushing high density residential development. The action the city council took this week attenuated development, but pertained rather to industrial land use rather than residential land use.
The Redlands City Council on Tuesday, June 21 unanimously approved an urgency ordinance calling for a temporary halt on new approvals of logistics facilities, warehouses and distribution complexes of more than 50,000 square feet where they are permitted, which includes commercial and industrial zones. City officials said they wanted to take time to consider the need for such uses and their impacts along with what further limitations and regulations will be imposed on them when their construction continues.
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. The glut of logistics facilities in the Inland Empire has some thinking their numbers are out of balance. 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.
-Mark Gutglueck

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