New rules for warehouse development passed by Redlands City Council in 2023

What it means for proposed warehouse projects

New rules for warehouse development passed by Redlands City Council in 2023
Locations for possible new warehouses over 50,000 square feet in Redlands, April 2023. (Source: City of Redlands)

REDLANDS, Calif. – Starting in 2023, new warehouses in Redlands that are over 50,000 square feet must follow a list of pollution-mitigating rules and clean energy initiatives as part of new development standards. 

On Tuesday, April 4, 2023, the Redlands City Council unanimously passed regulations for new warehouses in Redlands. Ordinance No. 2955 includes:

  • Location requirements: New warehouses 50,000 sq ft or larger must be within one mile of a freeway ramp.
  • Screening sensitive nearby properties: Warehouse projects that abut neighborhoods, childcare centers, hospitals, or other properties with a "sensitive receptor" require a ten-foot-high screen wall and extra landscaping. Truck docks and entries must be oriented away from these properties, and parking lots need to provide at least 35% shade cover.
  • Traffic patterns and truck routes: Warehouse applicants must submit a Truck Routing Plan to show how large trucks will travel to the freeway without going through residential zones or districts. (View the city truck route map here). Other requirements include a traffic impact assessment and prohibiting on-street parking of trucks or cabs in residential areas.
  • Sustainable energy: Warehouse projects must include electric plug-in devices at all dock doors for refrigerated trailers to limit the time a truck idles on the street. Other sustainable energy requirements involve installing solar panels on the rooftop, cool roof treatments, Level 2 quick charge stations in the parking lot, and  zero-emissions on-site operational equipment.
  • Other construction standards: Projects must construct an extra large electrical equipment room. This is to prepare for the use of more electrical equipment, such as EV trucks. Other requirements include cool surface treatments on driveways and parking areas, encouraging solar panels on parking shade structures, and prohibiting outdoor storage higher than the perimeter screen wall, which shields sensitive properties.

Backstory: The City Council first considered the new rules on warehouse development in February. But they did not vote on the ordinance at that meeting. The Council considered taking it further and asked city staff to research what banning new warehouse development in Redlands would mean.

The request to ban all new warehouses came after public comments and concerns from city council members about the impact of distribution centers on truck pollutionair quality, and jobs.

The staff report attached to the April 4 agenda advised the City Council to pass the proposed ordinance but not prohibit new warehouse development. City staff provided two reasons against banning warehouses:

  • There are "very few remaining large vacant lots" for distribution warehouses.
  • "If warehouses and logistics distribution centers were to become completely prohibited land uses... then numerous existing properties and warehouses could become 'nonconforming.'"

According to the potential warehouse site map provided by the city, about 1.16 million square feet of possible warehouse space is available in Redlands. The map identifies about 50 acres of land spread across six proposed locations in East Redlands, within a mile of the highway.

Potential warehouse sites map in Redlands, April 2023. Source: City of Redlands

The City Council took the advice and passed the ordinance but did not vote to stop permitting warehouses in Redlands.

The new rules went into effect in May 2023. 

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