May 28, 2024

IE COMMUNITY NEWS

El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Colton’s 66-Foot Street Widening for Agua Mansa Warehouse Project Ignites Controversy Amid “Staff Error” and Developer Favoritism Claims

4 min read

The street widening project is located between West Hopkins Road and South Rancho Avenue, on West Agua Mansa Road.

The Colton City Council’s recent decision to approve modifications to the zoning entitlements for the Agua Mansa Logistics Center, located at 1400 and 1500 Agua Mansa Road and led by IDI Logistics, has ignited a firestorm of controversy among local residents and city officials. The modifications, which include changes to the street width and drainage plans for Agua Mansa Road, have raised serious concerns about public safety, infrastructure, and the city’s commitment to its citizens.

In a contentious council meeting, Resolutions R-15-24, R-16-24, and R-17-24 were passed, allowing for a reduction in the originally required street dedication width from 90 feet to a 66-foot half-street width. This decision marks a significant departure from the city’s initial requirement for a full street right of way, a change attributed to what Development Services Director Heidi Duron described as a “staff error.”

“The most the City can require the developer to dedicate is sufficient right-of-way to provide for a half-street width along their project frontage, which is 45 feet,” Duron explained. “The inclusion of the requirement for full-width improvements was a staff error.”

The approved modifications entail constructing missing street improvements along the project frontage, including curb, gutter, sidewalk, asphalt pavement, driveway approaches, handicap access ramps, streetlights, street signs, and roadway striping. Additionally, a three-foot landscaping easement will be dedicated along the entire south side of the project frontage.

Councilmember Kelly Chastain raised pressing concerns about drainage, especially in light of recent rain and flooding events. “What is your plan on drainage? Is it included in your plan?” she inquired. Don Carp, Vice President of IDI Logistics, assured that the plan includes “sheet flowing drainage along the side of the road from the east side to the center,” with all water flowing into a public storm drain.

Chastain also highlighted the issue of semi-trucks using the shoulder of the street for parking. “The shoulder is only 8 feet wide,” she noted. Carp responded that they could post no-parking signs to address this concern. It’s worth noting that on average, semi trucks in the United States are around 72 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet tall, with a gross weight of up to 80,000 pounds.

Councilmember David Toro, Councilmember Kelly Chastain, Mayor Frank Navarro, Councilmember Dr. G, and Mayor Pro Tem John Echevarria on the dias, on April 2, 2024.

The modifications have sparked a debate about the future of Agua Mansa Road, with some council members discussing the possibility of eventually turning it into a four-lane road. Mayor Frank Navarro acknowledged that collaboration with the County of San Bernardino would be necessary for any expansion. According to a UCLA study published on November 9, 2022, residential streets in the United States are typically 50 feet wide, which is much wider than in most other countries. The modification to a 66-foot half-street width for Agua Mansa Road is seen as a significant change.

Councilmember David Torro emphasized the importance of consistency in the street width. “Just to keep things consistent, the number is 66 feet, it’s not 45. So the client does not come back and say oh well the conditions of approval only says 45, so we’re just going to do to the center of the road and we’re not going to do the other side of the road. I think we should say it’s 66 with conditions of approval, can I get a legal opinion on that?” he said. The legal team confirmed that a 66-foot width would be acceptable, given that the original condition was 90 feet and had been agreed to by the developer.

During the council discussion, Mayor Pro Tem John Echevarria addressed Resident Nick Z’s concerns about illegal parking of semi-trucks. “I know the City now has the new parking enforcement detail with the police department and we can refer to them. Because yes, as you said Nick, once one starts parking there, they’re all going to want to start parking there,” he stated.

Public comments revealed a deep-seated mistrust of the city’s handling of the project. Resident Marlene Salazar accused the city of favoring the developer, stating, “Staff’s epiphany about the error appears to be nothing more than a favor for a powerful developer.” Another resident, Nick Z., expressed concerns about truck queuing and insufficient infrastructure, saying, “Truck queuing is already a current issue on Agua Mansa and Miguel Bustamante Parkway. Immediately west of the project, we see where trucks will park in the unpaved dirt parallel to Agua Mansa. Now with this agreement, ONLY the south side of the road will be widened. You can see how the same issue is going to arise in this new project area.”

Despite the controversy, the council ultimately approved the modification from 45 feet to 66 feet, with Councilmember David Toro making the motion and Councilmember Dr. G making a second.

Subscribe

To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive our Weekly Wrap of top stories, each week.

 

Thank you for the support!

You have Successfully Subscribed!