Mayor discusses warehouse settlement during press conference | News

Three days after California Attorney General Rob Bonta held a press conference to announce that a settlement had been reached with the City of Fontana regarding a controversial warehouse project, Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren oversaw a press conference to provide additional information from the city’s point of view.

Saying she wanted to “clear the air,” Warren defended Fontana’s actions and claimed that some statements by Bonta were incorrect.

Last summer, Bonta filed a suit against the city because of its approval of a warehouse on Slover and Oleander avenues, next to Jurupa Hills High School. Bonta said he had concerns about the environmental impacts of the project, but Warren disagreed with his assessment.

“First and foremost, your city did nothing wrong,” Warren said during the April 21 event in the Fontana Police Department meeting room.  “Duke Realty (the developer) did nothing wrong.”

The settlement will allow the project to move forward, but with more strict conditions.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved an ordinance which raises the standards which must be met by all warehouse developers in the city.

In a press release, the attorney general’s office said on April 18: “Today’s settlement required the City of Fontana to adopt the most stringent warehouse ordinance in the state.”

However, Warren said the process for conducting an analysis and eventually passing the ordinance was initiated “long before” Bonta’s office filed the suit.

“We were not forced in any way to adopt this ordinance,” Warren said.

Bonta said the settlement requires Duke Realty to implement new measures to mitigate the Slover and Oleander warehouse project’s environmental impacts on the surrounding community.

Duke Realty will also establish a $210,000 community benefit fund that will be used to enhance landscaping buffers at Jurupa Hills High School and to purchase and distribute a five-year supply of high quality air filters to up to 1,750 households in the surrounding community, Bonta said.

Warren emphasized that no funds were given to organizations which opposed the warehouse.

“The City of Fontana refused to participate in a settlement agreement that involved payment to any outside special interest groups masquerading as advocates for this community,” Warren said.

She was apparently referring to the Sierra Club San Gorgonio Chapter, an environmental organization which was represented by Mary Ann Ruiz at Bonta’s press conference. Another group, the South Fontana Concerned Citizens Coalition, is based in Fontana and is led by resident Elizabeth Sena.

Bonta said the warehouse is located in a “low-income neighborhood,” but Warren said “we are not a disadvantaged community.”

“The median household income in the south area that the AG and the special interest groups have called ‘low-income’ is $83,000 per year,” Warren said. “I will not allow people to disparage our people or our community.”

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