On December 16, in a 4-3 vote, San Bernardino City Council approved the San Bernardino Travel Center to be built on the corner of N. Palm Avenue and W. Kendall Drive, in the Verdemont neighborhood.
Ahead of discussing the item, 6th ward Councilmember Kimberly Calvin recommended the council revisit the item in the near future to provide new councilmembers an adequate amount of time to review details of the project, discuss the project with constituents and generate a well-rounded scope of questions for the developer.
“I’ve pulled this item because I don’t feel I have enough information to vote on this matter. I would like to engage the voter as Councilmember Calvin and not councilmember-elect. I have not had the opportunity to look at any of this information…while many of you have been studying this project for months. I haven’t been able to speak to developers, planners, or address constituents; I’m asking that we table this matter until I’m able to look deeper into this center,” said Calvin.
Calvin made a motion to table voting on changing the zoning district classification from commercial general (CG-1) to industrial light (IL), in which Councilman Ben Reynoso made a second.
Ultimately, the motion passed but was quickly vetoed by Mayor John Valdivia.
“I will veto this under my privileges, this is unacceptable. This is a big economic impact to our city. The motion remains and under my authority, I will veto that,” said Valdivia.
Valdivia proceeded to introduce Greens Development Managing Principal Atman Kadakia, who shared specifics on the forthcoming project.
“Currently, the location is a vacant site with dozens of diesels parked illegally. We expect to bring in over $1 million a year directly to the city’s general fund and generate over $40 million to the city’s general fund over 30 years,” said Kadakia.
The travel center is said to feature over 8 acres and 14,000-square-feet of space, which will include five restaurants, restrooms, private showers, a laundry facility, and a lounge.
“In addition to providing a significant amount of gas and tax revenue (which can be used for the city’s improvements), we’re going to provide 160 jobs in a time when there’s so much uncertainty; we will do everything we can to support the residents of Verdemont,” concluded Kadakia.
About half of the council expressed various concerns about the project including Councilman Reynoso who had questions regarding potential environmental impacts and Councilmember Sandra Ibarra expressed concern over how the two-lane freeway could result in an increase of heavy traffic in the area.
“We need to be responsible with this development and ensure some type of protection for the people in the Verdemont area. I have also expressed my concerns about the environmental impacts and I’ll follow up with Mr. Kadakia on that,” said Reynoso.
The item passed with opposition from Calvin, Reynoso, and Ibarra.
“This item passes and will be a huge revenue generator in our city. Thank you Mr. Kadakia and welcome to San Bernardino,” concluded Valdivia. The project does not bring any economic impacts to the city of San Bernardino as the developer is the sole proprietor.