Residents of neighborhoods in California and other states around the country are pushing back against the increasing development of industrial and warehouse facilities near their homes. The rapid rise of e-commerce over the last few years has led to more distribution facilities being built across the country, and in many cases, built within or close to residential neighborhoods. As community opposition to the developments in both urban and rural areas has grown, it’s led some cities to halt development and reexamine projects.
In California’s Inland Empire, which has one of the largest industrial markets in the nation, local officials have passed moratoriums on warehouse development in several cities over the last two years. One of those cities, Colton, has extended a moratorium against building distribution warehouses three times since May 2021. The construction bans are intended to allow time to study impacts of the facilities on the community, like pollution, proximity of the facilities to homes, and truck traffic. Since the early 1990s, the number of warehouses in the Inland Empire has grown from 650 to nearly 4,000 as of last year. At the same time, the area’s population has quadrupled over the last 50 years.
Real estate groups and other business and labor coalitions have opposed the moratoriums, saying the bans will cut into tax revenue and jobs, and cause more disruption to the already struggling supply chain. A bill introduced into the state legislature earlier this year would have effectively blocked any industrial development within 1,000 feet of non-industrial areas in a large swath of Southern California, including the Inland Empire, but it was eventually shelved. “Ultimately, it would have created an unprecedented number of restrictions in an industry that is crucial to our post-COVID economic recovery,” BOMA’s Los Angeles chapter said in a statement. Battles between communities and the industrial industry over warehouse development will likely continue to play out across the country as the e-commerce industry’s continued growth leads to more demand for distribution space.