For the past four years, the County of San Bernardino has hosted a series of community meetings to discuss the Countywide Plan and the future of Bloomington. In surveys taken at these meetings, the vast majority of residents have made it clear that they want enhanced services and opportunities to work and shop in their own community. There was an acknowledgment that over the years, the community has become inundated by illegal businesses, including unpermitted trucking facilities and unpermitted vendors. To combat this trend, residents have asked for increased Sheriff’s patrols and Code Enforcement. The Bloomington Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) understands that if we want to develop a thriving community, we need to support new development that will help fund our future.
The Bloomington MAC understands the challenges that come with growth. That is why we have insisted that new developments, like the Slover Distribution Center, must be required to invest heavily in the community through carefully crafted agreements.
- The project is located on Slover Avenue, an established industrial corridor in both Fontana and Rialto. The property directly to the west is already zoned industrial, and if a warehouse were proposed on that land, it would be permitted by right. With all these factors in mind, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) concluded that this area was not suitable for residential development. Even the County’s staff report acknowledged the project is consistent with community policy and “would be consistent with the existing patterns of land use and development.”
- The project’s Health Risk Assessment determined that local air quality impacts are below all threshold levels, and the project is consistent with the County’s Greenhouse Gas Emission requirements. The study concluded that there would be no significant health impacts related to the project and emissions would be well below the threshold for sensitive receptors. The project is so innocuous that the Air Quality Management District did not comment on the EIR.
- Truck access will be limited to Slover Avenue, keeping trucks away from Bloomington High School. The project will contribute nearly $200,000 in school-related fees to the Colton Joint Unified School District and provide for a “Safe Routes to School” sidewalk project next to the high school. Additionally, this project will contribute to the installation of a traffic signal on Slover Avenue at Linden Avenue, which will contribute to the safety of our school children.
- All healthy cities have a mix of commercial, residential and industrial uses. Most cities have between 20-25% of their land zoned for industrial use. Bloomington currently has less than 12% zoned industrial, well below the average.
- In addition to the increased property tax revenue for the County, school district, and Rec & Park District, the project will be required to pay an additional $30,000 per year for enhanced services in Bloomington. These funds will allow for an increased effort to curb the actual environmental threat to the community – illegal and unpermitted trucking.
There are more than one hundred illegal truck facilities all throughout Bloomington. Many are next to schools, homes, and in residential neighborhoods. These facilities do not meet environmental standards, they do not pay their fair share of property taxes, and they operate outside of local regulations. We have asked and will continue to ask our local and state legislators for help to address the real threat to our community. Rather than oppose what the community and the County have worked so hard on for years, we would ask for partnerships that help build investment in our community. We need solutions, not political rhetoric. We believe that projects like the Slover Distribution center can be a building block for a better community.
I have lived in Bloomington for 54 years. I have raised my children and grandchildren here in the community. I am fully invested in Bloomington, and I want to see it grow for the next generation.
By Larry Burgos, Bloomington MAC Chair
54-year resident of Bloomington