Why some industrial business owners don’t like Santa Fe Springs’ proposed plan – Whittier Daily News
A proposed new master plan that would reshape the industrial part of Santa Fe Springs by limiting large industrial uses as well as trucking and warehousing has business owners angry.
Business leaders, including the Chamber of Commerce, have sent letters to the city and spoken out against proposed changes to this industrial city at recent meetings of the Planning Commission and City Council.
“The proposed changes in land use could have a permanent impact on the lives and livelihoods of many people and businesses,” Randall Courtney and Kathie Fink, president and chief executive, respectively, of the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce, in a Jan. 10. letter to the city.
“Jobs could be lost, businesses could be forced to relocate, and properties could become permanently cluttered,” Courtney and Fink wrote.
Courtney and Fink asked for more time for the city council to hear from the business leaders.
As a result, the board has scheduled another study session at 5:00 p.m. before its regular January 18 meeting at 6:00 p.m.
The plan limits the types of industries adjacent to and near residential neighborhoods, schools and parks in this city long known for commercial and industrial development. Although the census population is less than 20,000, the working day population is over 60,000.
“One of the visions of this general plan is to protect the health and safety of residential neighborhoods,” Jose Rodriguez, a consultant with MIG, a contractor who helped prepare the new general plan, told the Commission. planning at its meeting on September 10.
“We try to restrict more unpleasant and intensive uses that could affect nearby residential uses,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the plan allows for a wide range of uses, including manufacturing, outdoor storage and logistics activities, but not near residential areas.
One site in dispute is the former Vons Distribution Center, 12801 Excelsior Drive, whose plan calls for the rezoning of 60% of the property from industrial park to retail park in order to transition to a ‘mixed-use employment center with professional offices, research and development and own industrial flex.
However, Lang Cottrell, Goodman’s regional manager, at the January 11 city council meeting objected, saying environmental justice issues are “unnecessary and misguided.”
“This property operated as a distribution center for Vons for 50 years before we purchased the property,” Cottrell said.
“We think it’s a perfect place for the industry,” he said. “There’s been a lot of talk about traffic, but having industry located along the highway keeps trucks out of the streets.”
Traffic and noise studies also showed no issues beyond the center of Vons, Cottrell said.
Decommissioning the property will reduce the value of the land by 55%, Cottrell said, and the property’s redevelopment time will drop from three years in full industrial to 25 years under the new zoning.
However, John Ramirez, community development manager for Norwalk, which owns residential areas near the former Vons site, said he saw lots of trucks and felt the vibrations of truck traffic.
“People are having trouble sleeping because of the trucks,” Ramirez said.
However, Howard Schwimmer and Michael Frankel — co-chief executives of Rexford Industrial Realty, Inc., which owns 15 industrial properties in Santa Fe Springs — said in a Jan. 10 letter that zoning its properties could make current uses or future non-compliant. Five of their properties would be downgraded.
“It would render the properties unusable and non-leaseable and create extreme financial hardship for Rexford and many other industrial owners and operators in the city,” they wrote.
Wayne Morrell, director of planning and community development, said properties affected by the general plan would not be damaged in the short term.
“It doesn’t mean that with the snap of a finger it’s all over,” Morrell said. “These uses must be able to remain in place.”
The city would offer an amortization period — it could be 20 years — before having to close, he said.
While business owners asked for a delay, Morrell said the housing element portion of the plan must be approved by Feb. 28 or the city would lose a $333,000 grant.
Business leaders suggested approving only the housing element and leaving the rest for further study and debate.