Fontana city officials detail new restrictions on future warehouse construction

Many of the new requirements are meant to satisfy environmental standards.

Rob McMillan Image
Friday, April 22, 2022
Fontana details new restrictions on future warehouse construction
A recently approved ordinance will require much more from developers before being allowed to build warehouses in the city.

FONTANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Now that the battle over a proposed warehouse in Fontana has come to an end with the project being allowed to move forward with several changes, all eyes are now focused on a recently approved ordinance that will require much more from developers before being allowed to build warehouses in the city.

"It should be used as a model for local governments across the state," said Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren about the Industrial Commerce Center Sustainability Standards ordinance, which was recently approved by the Fontana City Council. "I hope that other municipalities follow our lead in balancing environmental stewardship with economic development."

At a news conference inside the Fontana Police Department on Thursday, city officials detailed the new requirements, many of which are meant to satisfy environmental standards.

For example, instead of smaller trees in five-gallon buckets, larger trees in 36-inch boxes will need to be planted around the property.

Developers will also be required to establish and enforce proper truck routing plans, including managing signage and pavement markings.

"It's a very big deal," said Fontana Deputy City Manager Phil Burum. "We want them to leave the gates and get to the freeway as soon as possible."

Burum also said each loading dock on future warehouses will be required to be equipped with a plug-in system, so drivers of trucks equipped with refrigeration units won't be allowed to leave their trucks idling to avoid using the battery.

"You're not supposed to do that, but just out of convenience, they do it," said Burum. "We're requiring a plug-in at all loading docks, so it eliminates the excuse for leaving trucks idling."

City officials also used the news conference to push back on several comments made earlier in the week by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who announced a settlement between the state and the city of Fontana of a lawsuit concerning a 200,000-square-foot warehouse at the corner of Slover and Oleander avenues.

"For too long, warehouse development in Fontana went unchecked," said Bonta on Monday morning during a news conference in downtown Los Angeles. "The most vulnerable communities paid the price with dirty air, traffic and the noise associated with 24-hour warehouse operations."

The lawsuit alleged the city of Fontana violated the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, by not conducting an environmental impact report on the project. But the city of Fontana contends that an EIR wasn't required for a warehouse project of that size.

"First and foremost, your city did nothing wrong," said Warren, who claims that the area in question has been zoned for industrial use since 1990, long before the construction of Jurupa Hills High School, which is located adjacent to the southern boundary line of the project.

"Our intention is to use this area for industrial purposes, and we've always been clear about that," said Warren. "The school chose to purchase and build next to the future warehouse, not the other way around."

Warren also disputed Bonta's claim that the new ordinance was written only as a condition of the settlement of the lawsuit.

"I want to be clear. Our great council initiated this analysis and ordinance before the attorney general filed anything," said Warren.