Nearly 200,000 sq. ft. warehouse proposed 275 feet from Redlands Kindergarten

New Prologis development goes before Redlands Planning Commission, Tuesday

Nearly 200,000 sq. ft. warehouse proposed 275 feet from Redlands Kindergarten
New 197,397-square-foot warehouse development proposed for 301 Tennessee Street. (alejandrophotography from Getty Images Signature).

REDLANDS, Calif. – The Redlands Planning Commission will consider Prologis Inc.'s application to construct a 197,397-square-foot warehouse at 301 Tennessee Street on Tuesday, April 23. 

Why it matters: The new warehouse, proposed for the location of the former La-Z-Boy warehouse, is about 275 feet north of Redlands Adventist Academy Kindergarten and Kids Care and 380 feet north of Redlands Christian Middle School. It is also about 900 feet from an apartment complex. Parents and residents are concerned about the project's impact on traffic, air pollution, and parking. 

Details: The proposed warehouse, which does not have a specific tenant, includes 8,000 square feet of office space and 25 truck-loading docks.

Up to ten percent of the building is proposed for refrigerated storage. 

The development also includes 242 parking stalls, landscaping, lighting, utilities, and drainage improvements.

Regulations on warehousing in Redlands

In April 2023, the Redlands City Council passed an ordinance requiring distribution warehouses and light industrial or manufacturing facilities larger than 50,000 square feet or with six or more truck docks to be less than a mile from a highway entrance ramp (18.156.910 A1-2). The ordinance also requires several other development standards, including screening for sensitive receptors, rooftop solar panels, and zero-emissions onsite operational equipment.

The proposed project is half a mile from the I-10 freeway and Tennessee Street. It will comply with other mandatory conditions of approval, such as the use of PV solar panels, cool roof treatment, and sustainable energy requirements, according to the city staff report. 

Since the project does not directly abut any "sensitive receptor," such as a residence, school, church, or park, a 10-foot-tall decorative wall is not required. 

However, parents and residents have voiced concerns about the project's proximity to Redlands Adventist Academy Kindergarten and Kids Care and Redlands Christian Middle School. 

In addition, the Redlands Apartments on State Street are about 900 feet southeast of the project’s southern boundary. 

Following the 30-day public comment period for the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration from May 3 to June 2, 2023, five comments were received about the project. Four of the five remarks opposed the project, citing traffic, parking, and air quality concerns. These included letters from an environmental group, a neighboring business, a local resident, and Redlands Christian Schools. 

“Not only is traffic a concern but there are significant health and safety issues related to having large numbers of trucks interspersed with our students and parents,” wrote Brian T. Bell, head of schools for Redlands Christian Academy, in an Oct. 15, 2023 letter to the Planning Commission. Bell noted health issues for children steaming from idling trucks and elevated CO/CO2/NO2 emissions. 

Bell said that they have “great appreciation for the commercial neighbors of our campus.” Their smaller footprints—around 10,000- 40,000 square feet—maintain a safe neighborhood environment. 

Developer's response 

The agenda staff report notes that staff collaborated with the applicant to address concerns about truck traffic in the project area. 

Truck traffic in the city must follow specific routes to access the freeway to the north. Several truck routes are available near the project area, including Tennessee and Alabama streets, and Park Avenue.

City of Redlands Truck Route. Proposed warehouse indicated with red point marker.

The applicant agreed to conditions restricting truck movements to limit truck traffic south of the project where schools and residences are located, according to the application. Conditions include limitations on truck entry and exit directions, prohibiting certain turns, and supporting restrictions on parking on State Street.

The applicant is also exploring the feasibility of improving traffic circulation on Kansas Street south of State Street, potentially funded by a private grant.

The project also exceeds the required stacking space for trucks on Kansas and State Streets. 

In addition, the developer plans to create a buffer around nearby schools and residences. 

The applicant is proposing 15-foot "landscape buffering" along Tennessee Street, which would include a 4-foot-tall berm, three to six-foot-tall shrubs and additional trees. Trees along State Street will provide additional screening. 

The developer also plans to build an 8-foot-high decorative concrete wall around the rear of the building, according to the staff report. 

Proposed landscaping for 301 Tennessee Street. (Photo: City of Redlands Planning Commission Agenda)

Opposition to the project

Despite these conditions, some residents remain opposed to the project. 

One of the letters in opposition came from resident Julia Lenhardt, PhD candidate at UC Irvine who studies climate change impacts on California agriculture.

"I understand that there are already manufacturing buildings in the space, but replacing them with a larger warehouse, which will absolutely increase traffic and pollution, is a bad option," wrote Lenhardt. "We have an opportunity to turn these spaces into something better than they are, not something worse."

Lenhardt, Redlands resident and mother of two, has been organizing local parents and residents who oppose additional warehouse development near the schools to speak at Tuesday's meeting.

During a Zoom call with concerned residents last week, Lenhardt said a married couple who are doctors referenced the negative public health impacts of the logistics industry. Concerns over low-quality jobs and doubtful economic benefits were also discussed.

Benefit to the city 

According to the city's Cost/Benefit Model, the project is projected to result in annual revenues of $55,858 to the city upon implementation and annual ongoing costs of $12,806.

The surplus is $43,052 and the cost/benefit ratio is +4.36, according to the agenda staff report.

Moving Forward

The Redlands Planning Commission will consider the project during its meeting on Tuesday, April 23, at the Civic Center, 35 Cajon Street.

Those interested in making public comments can do so in person or via the Zoom link posted in the agenda.

Messages can be sent to the Commission here before 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

In addition to the approval by the Planning Commission, the project also requires a Demolition Permit by the Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission due to the age of the existing 1950s home on the property.

Correction 4/23: A previous version of this story included a truck route map indicating a different proposed warehouse development in North Redlands. The map has been updated. The previous version also stated the wrong direction when referencing the location of the schools to the warehouse. The schools are located south of the proposed warehouse.

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