RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (KABC) -- The stand at Nicolson Farms Strawberries has been at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Grove Avenue for nearly four decades.
Kyle Nicolson's grandfather started the family business 75 years ago in Chino before moving it to its current location along iconic Route 66.
"It's a very unique reputation that we have and very popular in the Inland Empire," said Nicolson.
But the family farm is under threat. A developer has plans to turn the seven-acre farm into a 300+ apartment complex with retail space and a parking lot.
"I don't believe we need to explain why we need to preserve this. My question has always been why would anybody want to get rid of it and put in something that we have so much of already," said resident Don Horvatich.
The Nicolsons lease the land from San Antonio Regional Hospital, which has entered into an agreement to sell the property to Fore Property.
In statement to Eyewitness New, the hospital said,
"Our hospital has entered into an agreement to sale the property to Fore Property.
The proceeds from the sale will be used to build a new Maternity unit at our hospital as well as provide additional support for Senior care at our upcoming Center for Aging in Rancho Cucamonga.
Our current Maternity unit does not meet seismic compliance regulations required by the State of California by 2030.
New housing to be built by Fore on the property will also assist San Antonio Regional Hospital to attract much-needed additional healthcare workforce members to our community in close proximity to our Hospital."
"It's a private property transaction. As the city, we are processing their request to develop it in conformance with our codes and standards. We don't have any control over the developer or property owner as to what they close to do with the property," said Jennifer Nakamura, the Deputy Director of Planning for the city of Rancho Cucamonga.
The city still needs to approve the development plan now under environmental review, but Nicolson is hoping more can be done to preserve his family's farm and livelihood.
"I feel there is a stand that needs to be taken across the state and local governments to protect sustainable farming practice and the environment," said Nicolson.
Residents are also loath to lose the green space. Last month at a meeting with Fore Property, residents made it clear they wanted the farm to stay. They also worried about more traffic and noise from a possibly development.
"For me more about preserving the history of the area. This is the last local farm that we have within the city limits," said Sarah Edelmaier.
Nicolson says he's aware he may have to relocate his farm but finding the right plot of land is not easy. He is asking anyone with recommendations to get in touch with him.
"I've been looking for over a year since I kind of knew this was a possibility and, you know, it's a battle because either its already being developed or cities are holding it for development."
Strawberry season at Nicolson Farm is about to get underway. The family hopes this won't be their last season.