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Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes  (D-Colton) withdrew her attempt to mandate 1,000-foot warehouse setbacks, after a state Senate committee attempted to replace the setback provision with a one-year ban on warehouse construction.

Gómez Reyes told a June 29 Senate hearing that she would not accept their proposed amendment to AB 2840.

“To put a moratorium on all the development of warehouses is not where we want to go,” Gómez Reyes told the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. “That isn’t what I intended to do when I started, and I’m not going to accept that as an amendment today.”

“We are saying build your warehouses,” she told the committee, “just don’t build them next to the homes. Build your warehouses, just don’t build them next to the schools, where our children are playing.” 

Since 2010, more than 174 million square feet, roughly the same area as Big Bear City, have been developed into logistics and industrial spaces in the Inland Empire, Gómez Reyes said.

“Now, our community is finding warehouses are being built right next to homes, right next to schools. The warehouses bring with them trucks producing diesel, particulate matter, a primary reason why the two counties rank in the top 10 for the worst annual particulate pollution nationally, according to the American Lung Association. This pollution is a driving factor in respiratory issues such as asthma, and leads to long-term issues such as heart disease, and cancer,” Gómez Reyes continued.

Seven in 10 children in her community have asthma, Gómez Reyes said.

A 1,000-foot buffer was recommended by the California Air Resources Board, and repeated by the Attorney General, Gómez Reyes said.

At 1,000 feet, there is an 80% drop-off in the concentration of particulate matter, Gómez Reyes said.

“AB 2840 has never proposed to stop development; rather it ensures responsible planning and development, recognizing the significant health impacts on communities when these developments are built next to homes, schools and daycares,” Gómez Reyes said by email. “My team and I will continue working on solutions to reduce the harm on communities that are impacted by logistics.”

The California Chamber of Commerce wrote in opposition, claiming that current environmental law already ensures responsible development.

“Existing laws and regulations already require qualifying logistics use projects and warehouses to comply with a plethora of applicable local, state and federal environmental laws, such as the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, CARB and (South Coast Air Quality Management District) rules and regulations, uniform building codes, fire codes, and of course (The California Environmental Quality Act), which ensures any potential impacts like increased traffic, noise or air impacts are fully disclosed and mitigated,” the chamber wrote, according to an Assembly report.

The bill was supported by 21 organizations, including the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Engage IE, Inland Empire United, Riverside Neighbors Opposing Warehouses, Sierra Club California and the Western Center on Law & Poverty, according to a Senate report.

The bill was opposed by 116 organizations, including San Bernardino County, cities of Banning, Chino Hills, Brea, Chino, Eastvale, Fontana, Menifee, Murrieta, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and multiple chambers of commerce, according to the report. 

The bill had passed the State Assembly 41-25.

Inland Empire representatives’ votes

Twelve assemblymembers did not vote, including Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona).

Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside) voted for the bill.

Assemblymembers James Ramos (D-Highland), Jose Medina (D-Riverside), Phillip Chen (R-Yorba Linda), Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and Thurston Smith (R-Hesperia) voted against the bill.

Gómez Reyes pulled the bill from consideration before the Inland Empire’s senators voted.

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