Inland Empire city rejects 1.3M sf distribution warehouse proposal

Jurupa Valley turns down warehouse plan to bring 520 jobs, citing health risk from diesel truck traffic


The Inland Empire city of Jurupa Valley has rejected a plan to build a 1.3-million-square-foot logistics warehouse because of its impact on the community.

The Jurupa City Council voted not to approve a proposal by Los Angeles-based Proficiency Rubidoux to build Rubidoux Commerce Park at Avalon and 26th streets, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

The warehouse and industrial building planned for 81 acres next to a former cement plant was expected to generate more than 500 truck trips a day.

“Our main goal,” Mayor Chris Barajas said before the vote, “is to protect our residents.”

The developer is now expected to send a revised proposal to the city’s planning commission for a public hearing.

The warehouse project was planned near a residential neighborhood and less than 500 feet from an approved Emerald Ridge North Residential Project. The City of Jurupa Valley would have needed to change its zoning and general plan to permit logistics on the development site.

The warehouse project, in the planning for five years, was expected to generate more than 520 jobs and give the newly incorporated city west of Riverside $13.2 million, plus annual payments of $200,000.

Concrete screen walls and landscaping would have served as buffers to neighbors.

But Jurupa Valley officials were concerned that the more than 500 truck trips would generate health risks and other negative environmental impacts to the community.

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“I have big issues with the size of the building, and the fact we’re going to be adding over 500 truck trips per day, adding to the already poor quality of air quality in that area,” Councilwoman Lorena Barajas Bisbee said. “The negative impacts this project will create, for me, do not outweigh some of the benefits.”

A need for logistics storage for goods shipped into Los Angeles and Long Beach ports has turned the Inland Empire into a warehouse powerhouse. Last year, Riverside and San Bernardino counties ranked third in the nation last year for large warehouse leases.

Between 2004 and 2020, Inland Empire warehouse space doubled to 600 million square feet, the Press-Enterprise reported.

The number of warehouses in San Bernardino County alone increased to 2,998 in 2021, from 203 in 1990, according to an environmental conservancy at Pitzer College in Claremont.

But while the coronavirus pandemic boosted e-commerce growth and demand for instant delivery, such warehouses face growing opposition from residents worried about air pollution, noise and traffic from diesel trucks.

This month, residents in Ontario battling a plan to rezone 220 acres of farmland for industrial use called for a moratorium on distribution warehouses.

[Riverside Press-Enterprise] – Dana Bartholomew

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