New warehouses could be kept 1,000 feet from homes if bill passes – San Bernardino Sun

An Inland Assembly member wants to put some distance between warehouses and people.

Legislation from Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes, D-Colton, requires local governments, when approving new logistics projects of 100,000 square feet or more, to impose a 1,000-foot buffer between those projects and homes, schools, health care centers, playgrounds and other places especially at risk from air pollution blamed on warehouse-bound diesel trucks.

AB 2840 would also require a “skilled and trained workforce” as defined by the state Public Contract Code to build warehouses. Local residents — the bill doesn’t define who qualifies as local — also would be entitled to a set percentage of jobs once the warehouse opens.

The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill “because it exacerbates California’s existing supply chain problems,” Adam Regele, CalChamber senior policy advocate, said via email.

The bill ignores “California’s robust environmental laws and regulations … (that) mitigate all significant impacts,” Regele said, adding that the state “needs more warehouses … to help alleviate critical supply chain issues” and that AB 2840 is inconsistent with an executive order “which emphasizes that the health of supply and distribution chains across California is a matter of vital statewide importance.”

With flat, vacant, cheap land, a blue-collar workforce and proximity to freeways, rail lines and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Inland Empire is ground zero for an ongoing logistics boom that employs thousands and filled the region with mega-warehouses, often 1 million square feet or larger.

With those jobs come concerns about pollution from warehouse-filling diesel trucks in an area notorious for poor air quality. The boom shows no sign of slowing, and warehouses are starting to encroach on residential areas as developers with vacant land seek to profit from the demand for more logistics space.

Reyes, whose district includes Bloomington, Colton, Grand Terrace, Fontana, Muscoy, Rialto and part of San Bernardino, acknowledges the logistic industry’s economic benefits.

“You can be a neighbor, but we want you to be a good neighbor,” Reyes said by phone. “It isn’t being a good neighbor if you’re driving your diesel trucks through neighborhoods where these children are.”

Reyes said she represents communities “where warehouses are coming up too close to (people), too close to the children. I feel it’s my responsibility to bring this issue up with my colleagues and explain why we need better protections.”

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