Despite strong opposition from some local residents and area legislators, the Fontana City Council on Jan. 23 approved a huge warehouse project and accompanying park in the southern end of the city.
With a 3-1-1 vote, support was given to the Southwest Fontana Logistics Center Project, which includes 1.6 million square feet for two warehouses as well as a 17.5 adjusted gross acre park.
Councilmember Jesse Sandoval opposed the project, citing safety concerns, while Councilmember Michael Tahan abstained, saying that more discussion is needed.
The proposal, which was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission in December, was proposed by Ward Mace of GLC Fontana II LLC. It is located on Cypress Avenue south of Interstate 10, bounded by Santa Ana Avenue on the north and Jurupa Avenue on the south.
Mace, addressing the council, said his company wants to be a good neighbor by investing in project enhancements that go beyond the necessary requirements, starting with the creation of the park.
“We’re spending $10.5 million to acquire 17.5 acres and we’re going to give that land to the city of Fontana,” he said, adding that the company will also spend $14.5 million in public improvements, both adjacent to the site and at the future park. “We’re doing this because we believe in the city. We believe in the future of the city.”
He estimated that the project would generate between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs.
Mayor Acquanetta Warren said that her goal of bringing in manufacturing jobs to the city has been worthwhile.
“Some of the jobs are starting from $60,000 to $85,000,” she said.
She indicated that this project will help keep Fontana moving forward in a positive manner.
“This council is committed to making sure that we have the right quality projects because we have the greatest of citizens,” she said.
—– HOWEVER, representatives from State Sen. Connie Leyva and State Assemblymember Eloise Reyes read a joint letter in opposition to the project, citing increased air pollution, noise and traffic congestion.
“The Fontana Planning Commission report states that the proposed project would not be consistent with the latest regional Air Quality Management Plan to the proposed site, even with the implementation of the mitigation measures because the daily project emissions exceed SCAQMD daily significance thresholds. This represents a significant and unavoidable impact,” the letter said.
“The I-10 corridor has some of the worst air quality in the state and the proposed project will only exacerbate this problem. Furthermore, the proposed development is less than quarter a mile away from various schools, including Citrus High School, Jurupa Hills High School and elementary schools in the Colton Joint Unified School District.”
Also during the public comments portion of the meeting, resident Jessica Rodriguez, 29, bashed the project, arguing it would hurt children like her own who suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma.
“We do not need more air pollution in our city. It’s hurting our environment, it’s hurting our children,” she said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the Inland Empire Biking Alliance, Sierra Club, the National Partnership for Safe Routes to School in Southern California, and the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.
Some residents questioned why more warehouses are needed in Fontana when some warehouses that are currently here are empty or mostly empty. They also claimed that warehouse jobs typically do not pay satisfactory wages.
As for the park, some residents agreed it is needed but argued it should not be attached to the project.