Redlands considers ban all distribution warehouses

Inland Empire city’s mayor says  “we don’t need more warehouses”

Redlands Mayor Eddie Tejeda, Warehouses
Redlands Mayor Eddie Tejeda (Getty, City of Fredlands)

The City of Redlands is looking to banish warehouses altogether, just six months after enacting a temporary ban on distribution facilities.

The Redlands City Council was considering an ordinance to rein in warehouse operations when the mayor and other council members voted to consider an outright ban, the Redlands Daily Facts reported.  The council instructed staff to study a potential moratorium.

“The majority of the council is advocating for drastic change,” Mayor Eddie Tejeda said. “We don’t need more warehouses.”

The move by the Inland Empire city follows a broad pushback against the proliferation of warehouses in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Last month, more than 60 environmental, labor and community groups signed a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom calling for a one- to two-year pause on warehouse construction across the region. They cited concerns over warehouse-related truck traffic, diesel pollution, noise and worker safety.

Redlands, a city of 70,000 residents and Victorian homes from its former orange empire, enacted a temporary ban in June on new industrial projects, including warehouses.  The construction ban expired in October. 

In an election on Nov. 8, more than half of Redlands voters decided to increase a tax on warehouses. An April 2021 study found the city had 56 warehouses with more than 100,000 square feet.

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This week, the City Council held a public hearing to discuss an ordinance recommended by city officials to regulate warehouse development and operations. The ordinance would limit development and logistics operations with zoning regulations and requirements for new permits for development.

That’s when talk turned to the environmental impacts of warehouses, according to the newspaper, with members of the public calling logistics “detrimental” to the environment and saying warehouses “ruin” a city’s character.

Councilwoman Jenna Guzman-Lowery cited  234 warehouses in the IE in 1980, and more than 4,000 warehouses today.

The council steered toward discussing a potential ban of new warehouse development altogether, and asked staff to study the legal possibilities of not permitting them. 

“This is an issue I’ve thought a lot about,” Councilwoman Denise Davis said. “This is an issue we need to table for now … use this as a stepping stone to rethink what our values are.”

— Dana Bartholomew

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