Bloomington residents concerned about what they called their rural lifestyle couldn’t convince a majority of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to vote against a new truck and trailer storage facility in their community.
“You wouldn’t want this in your backyard,” said Bloomington resident Anna Carlos. “You wouldn’t even want that in your neighborhood.”
On Tuesday, February 8, the supervisors voted to rezone an 8.95-acre parcel at 10746 Cedar Ave., on the west side of Cedar Avenue between Santa Ana and Slover Avenues. The plot was originally zoned for commercial use, meaning it could be used for shops or other commercial ventures. Instead, it is now zoned for commercial service uses and will be used for a 260-space truck and trailer storage yard, along with an office building and a service bay building. The site should create around 25 new jobs.
The land itself was not zoned for residential use, but abuts land zoned for residential use on all four sides of the property and existing homes to the north, east and south.
The project has been controversial throughout the public process, with 13 people opposing it at the July 22 Planning Commission public hearing into the project.
A total of 59 letters and emails were sent to the oversight board about the project, both from members of the public and from the state attorney general’s office for environmental justice, the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, South Coast Air Quality Management. District and the Colton Unified School District. Commentators, both in written posts and in Tuesday’s meeting, focused on air quality issues, pedestrian safety and traffic issues.
“While we recognize the trend of development and proliferation of logistics and warehousing demands in the region, we are asking the county to be more proactive and deliberate in its approach,” Colton School District facilities manager Owen Chang told supervisors on Tuesday. “This project would significantly increase truck traffic on Cedar and the Cedar Interchange, which is already overloaded.”
Slover Mountain High School is located about a quarter mile from the project, Chang said.
And the project was no slam dunk on Tuesday, with supervisor Joe Baca Jr., who represents Bloomington on the board, voicing concerns.
“With these trucks on the road, we don’t have the capacity as a county to maintain these roads or have the money to maintain these roads,” he said.
But other board members pushed back.
“What I’ve heard this community say, over many years, is that they’re looking for a way to get help to get the trucks and trailers off the streets and dirt lots,” said said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford.
And, Board Chairman Curt Hagman pointed out, pushing the logistics and trucking industry out of Bloomington simply meant sending it to another jurisdiction and possibly creating even more problems.
“Do we really want to push (the logistics industry) to another jurisdiction? How far would that be? said Hagman. “We don’t want 5,000 more trucks going up and down Cajon Pass.”
In the end, the council voted 3 to 2 to approve the rezoning and permit, with Baca and First District Supervisor Paul Cook dissenting.
No schedule for the project’s completion was presented on Tuesday, but the permit expires in three years, so the project will have to be built by July 2025 or the Planning Commission will have to approve an optional three-year extension. Rutherford said Tuesday that she expects the matter to wind up in court and ultimately be decided by a judge.