As a local business leader, Fontana citizen, and environmentalist, I applaud the Fontana mayor and City Council for recently deciding to adopt new development regulations that will help the city balance post-COVID economic recovery while also protecting our air, streets, and way of life.
Other cities have taken harsh measures to handle the new realities of our e-commerce economy, such as “warehouse moratoriums,” but Fontana has assured that we can keep our city clean and beautiful while attracting top firms to put our friends and neighbors back to work. Fontana’s leadership chose to deal to this challenge with something rare in today’s politics: smart compromise, rather than a simply partisan knee-jerk reaction.
However, the city’s rapid expansion in the logistics and e-commerce sectors has presented new obstacles. New laws were clearly needed to ensure that logistics projects, like any other sort of development, could coexist with residents, businesses, and visitors.
The City Council’s laws would create air and other environmental quality standards for logistics projects, including the planting of tall, evergreen trees between businesses and neighbors. Increased tree coverage will also assist the city in achieving its tree canopy targets, offering cooling benefits and making the city more appealing in general.
The policy also mandates enough onsite parking and queuing to prevent trucks from backing up onto city streets, as well as limiting and severely enforcing idling to no more than three minutes and mandating all onsite motorized equipment to be ZERO emission (zero emission). This will significantly lessen a project’s negative effects on air quality.
Buildings will also be solar-ready to handle the future electrification of heavy-duty trucks, which must be zero-emission by 2045 in California. Future heavy-duty electric trucks will be able to plug in and charge at the site as a result of this.
Some people from outside our town have attempted to drive our City Council to the breaking point. They want to halt all new warehouse construction, which would be devastating to our economy, which is still recovering from a global pandemic. In fact, with over 11,000 employees, the logistics business is Fontana’s largest employer.
For me, this is not a theoretical discussion. As the owner and president of California Recyclers, I am well aware that environmental care and economic health can coexist. We try to keep things out of landfills and recycle to lessen our carbon footprint. My employees support their families by working in the green industry. Small firms, such as mine, also require warehousing space. Industrial facilities are used by more than just big box and internet merchants, and our lives rely on their continuous availability. We cannot simply refuse development.
Once again, I congratulate the city for taking proactive steps to create additional restrictions that prioritize citizens’ health and safety while also ensuring that businesses may thrive and deliver essential employment to our city. Fontana’s bright future necessitates both.