The January 9th Joint Workshop Meeting at Upland City Hall was absolutely historic. It was packed to standing room only and many residents waiting an hour to finally sit down. Upland residents came out swinging and with so many experts in various fields living in this great city, Bridge Development / Amazon received plural black eyes, as did the City of Upland. But what happened during a 5 minute intermission, was the real show. As unbeknownst to residents in attendance, a hot mic captured a private conversation between City Attorney Steven Flower and Upland’s Community Development Director Robert Dalquest, which was inadvertently broadcast over live cable television to everyone who was watching the meeting at home. The meeting came to an abrupt end for most, when at about the 1 hour and 20 minute mark, a mob of angry residents stormed out in an mass show of disgust, after hearing enough bull to choke out Godzilla. The Upland Planning Commission is schedule to VOTE on the site plan below for the 50-acre Amazon Logistical Terminal, plus the project’s Development Agreement and its “shoddy” Environmental Report on February 12th at 406 N. Euclid Ave at 6:30 PM. You can read every juicy detail about the 1/9 workshop and get all the breaking news inside this edition of The Upland Report.
This 3rd and final round of workshops regarding the Amazon Transportation Terminal, goes to the residents of Upland! With countless body-shots, jabs, right hooks and left hooks landing on the chin of Bridge / Amazon and our City Planning Staff, the residents seized the day. This was as epic as David fighting Goliath and that’s exactly what it was. The residents of Upland are so sick and tired of getting pushed around by Bridge / Amazon and the City of Upland!
AND FRANKLY, WE’RE MAD AS HELL & WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!
A sea of angry residents threw down the gauntlet and said, “COME ON!”
Please enjoy the video montage below, courtesy of Upland’s incredible citizenry. Get ready to hear from a Civil Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer, a Professor of Economics, a Professor of Environmental Analysis, a Wildlife Biologist, a California Air Resources Board Emissions Specialist, an Environmental Health Specialist with LA County Department of Public Health, as well as, multiple residents with law degrees. Plus, there is even a member from Upland’s very own Traffic Committee, along with several retired or active Law Enforcement Officers. And the many first time speakers who had just learned about this Amazon Logistical Terminal, gave everyone something to feel proud about. Young, old, male, female, from nearly every race, religion and creed, the residents of Upland were one voice that said, “Not in our town!”
One of the speakers was Mark Walters, who currently serves on Upland’s Traffic Committee. Mark is also a retired Law Enforcement Officer, with years of public service devoted to traffic safety. He is also a Director of a local citizens watch dog group called Upland Coalition of Concerned Citizens and Mark had this to say, “Bridge Development states this “UNKNOWN COMPANY’S” vehicles (which include semi trucks, vans and cars) will only be using Baseline Rd, Benson Ave, Foothill Blvd and Central Ave to access their facility. Using my calculations, it has been determined that these 4 roadways are 24,051 feet long, or in other words, 4.55 miles long. Using the national average, it costs $1.25 million dollars per mile to repave a roadway. To repave these designated roadways, it will cost our City of Upland $5,687,500 for just one repaving. Also using national averages on a heavily traveled road, you can expect the need to repave these roadways every 10-15 years. Being a 50 year lease, and using this national average, the City of Upland will spend $22,750,000 out of Upland’s General Fund to maintain these designated roadways. Please keep in mind; this does not include inflationary costs, nor does it include lane striping, bots dots or intersection sensors.”
Cal State San Bernardino Professor and Chairman of the Department of Economics, Mr. Eric Nilsson, had some profoundly sobering comments to share about the Bridge / Amazon Environmental Report submitted to our city. And I quote, “I took a close look at the Air Quality Assessment and a close look at the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment and frankly I didn’t like what I saw. To not mince words, the studies are so poorly done, they need to be set aside as inadequate. And there needs to be a full-scale Environmental Impact Study performed. Let me tell you some of the problems. There are mathematical errors in some of the tables. The tables refer to appendices, that do not have material that’s supposed to support, the material in the tables. So someone revised these reports and failed to actually make these synchronized. So it’s really pretty shoddy work!”
Upland resident Lois Sicking Dieter, is a Mechanical Engineer with a Masters Degree in Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science. Lois works for California’s Air Resources Board, by evaluating diesel emissions. Lois completely agreed with Professor Nilsson’s assessment, regarding the report supplied by Bridge / Amazon and had this to say about it, “I am against this proposed project going forward without an EIR (Environmental Impact Report). I find that this report has flawed methodology, used outdated software by 20 years in some instance, indicated generalized conclusions based on an analysis and results not well defined, inputs to model, analysis software programs not disclosed, most raw data output was not included as expected, etc. In my opinion, as an environmental engineer, this Initial Study does not meet standard engineering best practices, which also leads me to question whether it has been peer reviewed, which is part of due diligence by City Planning staff.”
Upland resident Brinda Sarathy, who is a Professor of Environmental Analysis, with a PhD in Environmental Science and Policy. Brinda echoed Professor Nilsson’s and Lois Sicking Dieter’s comments when she said, “Because Upland is the lead agency on this, you (Upland), actually have discretionary authority in relation to what threshold you use, for Greenhouse Emissions. I was quite surprised to see you used the Industrial Threshold for a stationary source, which is a Heavy Industry Threshold, which is about 10,000 metric tons of C02 equivalent per year. Whereas, if you chose the Commerical / Retail Threshold, that’s about 3,000 to 3,500 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year. Elsewhere in the report, you actually categorize the project and there’s a lot of comparisons to retail. So I am quite surprised the city has used a higher bar, in categorizing this project as industry. I did talk to South Coast AQMD (Air Quality Management District) about this, they thought it was quite a fair point and strongly encouraged me to put it into MND (Mitigated Negative Declaration) commentary.”
Kindly allow me to translate the scientific findings of fact above, regarding the ridiculous Environmental Report that Bridge / Amazon submitted to our city, which states their 50-acre Logistical Shipping Terminal, will have zero negative impacts on the City of Upland!
I simply can’t believe the talent pool we have here in this city. I implore you all, to watch the entire 50-minutes of public comments in the video above, in your spare time. Every speaker will blow you away. Trying to follow those geniuses and add something meaningful to this public conversation was my burden. But on Thursday night I gave it my best shot by pointing out a way that our City Planning Commissioners can vote unanimously to deny this and avoid getting sued too! I simply pointed out the glaringly obvious, being that Bridge / Amazon’s intended use for the 50-acre tract on Foothill Blvd, does NOT comply with the allowable listed land uses in our Upland Municipal Code. Here’s how I made that shocking discovery.
Apparently, this possibility rocked our Community Development Director Robert Dalquest and our City Attorney Steven Flower, to the point that during the 5 minute intermission, that was all they proceeded to talk about. Their back and forth dialogue was caught on a hot mic and subsequently, broadcast on live television to every resident watching this fiasco from home. Yet no one in the chamber hall knew this, until residents cellphones starting blowing up, as people who had seen this go down live at home, starting texting their friends who were still inside the meeting. Thank goodness some of them scrambled to record the audio, before our city deleted it.
Which is exactly what happened, as our city released their meeting video on Friday morning, completely omitting the 3 minute shocking segment. So before we get into what Dalquest and Flower had to say, please allow me to fill you in on how I become self aware, that this is not an allowable land use, under the existing zoning classification. Formerly, I served on a County Planning Board and I have known from the jump, that this project is a logistical shipping terminal and not a just a warehouse. Motor freight will be brought in by at least 25 semi-trucks and then a fleet of over 1,100 delivery vans, will transport that freight to retail customers, within six miles of our city. Please take a look at the size of the parking lots on the Bridge / Amazon site plan. As you can see, the majority of the 50-acre tract, will be used as a logistical shipping terminal.
And herein lies Upland’s problem. UPLAND DOES NOT HAVE A “TERMINAL” AS A PERMITTED LAND USE UNDER EITHER THE SITE’S INDUSTRIAL ZONING, OR ITS COMMERCIAL ZONING DESIGNATION. Our Municipal Code spells out exactly every single allowable use and if a use is not listed, that use is strictly prohibited!
An Upland Report reader found this tidbit online about Upland’s future Amazon Logistics Terminal which says, “Amazon launched a build-out of its delivery station distribution network………..These buildings are typically positioned within larger metropolitan cities across the country and quite often positioned near airports.” And Upland’s future Amazon is listed in their location table below. So many Upland residents are already deeply concerned that Amazon will one day lease Cable Airport and make that a drone and air terminal hub. **The Sentinel’s Article About The 1/9/20 Amazon Workshop Meeting Is A Must Read, HERE!
Our Upland Planning Commissioners, have a fiduciary duty to VOTE NO on the Bridge / Amazon’s Shipping Terminal because our Upland Zoning Ordinances, do not allow any Cargo Terminals, nor Trucking Terminals, nor Transportation Terminals, on Foothill Blvd whatsoever. The only reason Bridge / Amazon has been calling their 50-acre Logistical Shipping Terminal a Warehouse, is because a “Warehouse,” is the only allowable listed land use that exists. To prove this point, I read several definitions from a Municipal Planning Dictionary at the meeting on Thursday, January 9th. I only had time to read 2 of the 7 definitions to our Upland City Council Members and Planning Commissioners.
I will include all 7 below, for your review. I even researched other city’s permitted land uses, where Amazon Fulfillment Centers have been approved before. And all those city’s have either “Terminals” or “Logistical Centers,” as an allowable land use! BUT WE DON’T HAVE THAT IN THE CITY OF UPLAND! Please read the multiple, Municipal Planning Definitions below, to see how all of them describe what Bridge / Amazon is attempting to do to a tee. If “Express and other mail and package distribution facilities” are considered Trucking Terminals, then surely this 50-acre Amazon Order Fulfillment Logistical Center is too.
Terminal, Truck – A facility for the receipt, transfer, short term storage, and dispatching of goods transported by truck. Included in the use type would be express and other mail and package distribution facilities, including such facilities operated by the U.S. Post Office. (Blacksburg, Va.)
Terminal, Truck – Any premise used by a motor freight company . . . as a carrier of goods, which is the origin or destination point of goods being transported, for the purpose of storing, transferring, loading, and unloading goods. (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Terminal, Truck – Storage and distribution facilities having more than five heavy trucks (having a rating of more than 10,000 pounds or an unladen weight of more than 6,000 pounds) on the premises at any one time, but excluding trucking accessory to another industrial use on the site. (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Terminal, Truck – The premises used for loading or unloading of trucks upon which storage of cargo is incidental to the primary function of motor freight shipment or shipment point and which is designed to accommodate the simultaneous loading or unloading of five or more trucks. (Champaign, Ill.)
Terminal, Cargo – A transportation facility in which quantities of goods or container cargo are stored without undergoing any manufacturing processes, transferred to other carriers, or stored outdoors in order to transfer them to other locations. (Seattle, Wash.)
Terminal, Cargo – A facility for loading, unloading, and warehousing of freight. (Prescott Valley, Ariz.)
Terminal, Cargo – A facility for loading, unloading of freight for current distribution and not warehousing. (Prescott Valley, Ariz.)
So to recap, Upland Planning Commissioners need to have both a “Warehouse” and a “Cargo / Truck Terminal,” as a listed allowable land use under the existing Industrial Zoning Code, in order to approve this project. And since it’s not there, they can’t. So, what did Upland’s Community Development Director Robert Dalquest and our Shady City Attorney Steven Flower, have to say about all of this? Warning, this is either going to make you sick or make you want to cry, when you listen to their “hot mic” comments below. Myself and others have tried very hard to make out every word that both of them said, to the very best of our abilities. However, this audio was obtained from a resident who recorded it live on Cable TV. The packed chamber hall had erupted in cantankerous conversation, so it is nearly impossible to make out every word of their 3 minute private conversation.
However, our Upland City Hall has the original recording, which is the very best audio that exists. I wonder why City Hall censored their meeting recording and didn’t include this bombshell, when publishing their video to their website on Friday, 1/10/20. Maybe our Upland City Council Members & Planning Commissioners should demand to hear it firsthand, to learn how jack-legged and half-baked this contentious issue is being handled, by their most senior staff.
I truly feel sorry for Robert Dalquest, as he was desperately seeking help and is clearly being used as a front man here. But I have zero pity or mercy for City Attorney Steven Flower. I CAN’T BELIEVE UPLAND PAYS ONE RED CENT FOR THIS SORRY & INEPT LEGAL ADVICE! ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING! Please, Upland City Council Members, replace Steven Flowers immediately! The below is what can be heard of the audio, which you’ll hear for yourself in just a minute.
Robert Dalquest: “Steven………Steven! So the question is going to come up……..it’s just the ahhhhhhhh….'”
Steven Flower: “Yeah, look, (inaudible) the definition of light Industrial is not razor accurate.”
Robert Dalquest: “So what about that warehousing definition? Facilities for the storage of commercial goods. So can I say it fits within the definition of warehousing and also light industrial and those, are, that’s a permitted use? Is that something….”
Steven Flower: “Is that your opinion?”
Robert Dalquest: “No….yeah…..”
Steven Flower: “You obviously thought so all this time.”
Robert Dalquest: “No, no, no…..I want to know what your opinion is?”
Steven Flower: “Ummm………”
Robert Dalquest: “What’s your opinion?”
Steven Flower: “Like I said, the definition of light industrial zone …..inaudible…. It says the purpose of the light industry use, that it builds off of it’s a mixed use zone. So the question is, light industrial uses….(inaudible)….noise and vibration and odor, right? So, is this that?”
Robert Dalquest: “Okay, it is, it is. So what I’ll say, is based on staff’s and city attorney’s opinion, this falls within the definition of light industrial and warehousing and is a permitted use………is that…….or should I say it differently.”
Steven Flower: “No, that’s fine…(inaudible.)”
Robert Dalquest: “So that’s what I’ll say. Based on staff and the city attorney, this is a permitted use, that falls under the definition of light industrial and also, the definition of warehousing………And I’ll just leave it at that……..Unless you want me to say something different. We would do a text change to the code to take out some of the uses, you know, (inaudible) under a CUP (Editor’s Note – CUP is a Conditional Use Permit) or just take it out. But if I responded that way, are you okay with everything?”
Steven Flower: “Five minute break.”
Robert Dalquest: “Okay. Okay. Okay.”
****Editor’s Note: This is the best that the audio can be transcribed, without the city releasing the original audio. Should the city do that and if any statements are inaccurate, The Upland Report will make an immediate correction. And, The Sentinel’s article about the 1/9/20 Amazon Workshop Meeting is a must read, HERE!
Take a listen for yourselves and let me know, if you don’t feel like crying out of sheer frustration, that is our City Council & Planner Commissioner’s senior support team. The upcoming vote to approve this is expected next month and as you just heard, our Community Development Director and City Attorney, will be recommending our Planning Commissioners approve this massive 50-acre Amazon Logistical Terminal because, “Noise and vibration and odor,” are allowed in a Light industrial Zone! My God, is this town in trouble.
The Workshop Meeting ended for most residents, when they stormed out of City Hall in a spontaneous mass exodus. This happened after they heard the person hired to deliver the Bridge / Amazon, Environmental No Impact Report. This report stated we won’t have increased traffic. We won’t have increased air pollution. We won’t have increased noise pollution and that no negative impacts to the environment will occur either, from this logistical terminal. WOW! The straw that broke the camel’s back, was when the person saying this, proudly admitted she used to be an Upland employee, in the Planning Department no less! But that now she works for the Environmental Firm that Bridge / Amazon hired, to write the No Negative Impact Report.
Upon hearing this, literally, it seemed like half the room stood up at the exact same moment in time, like an unplanned flash mob. Everyone was headed for the door and expletives were flying through the chamber hall like confetti! I must have heard the words, “THIS IS BULLSH&T,” 15 times before I could get out of the door. I do regret that I missed hearing Councilmembers Elliott, Velto, Zuniga and Felix’s questions to Bridge / Amazon, as I heard they were pretty damn good. I would feel so much better if our City Council Members got to vote on this, instead of just our Planning Commissioners.
But I can’t even tell you, as I lost count of the many residents who came up to me to thank me for these reports and to tell me, this was how they heard about the meeting. I didn’t know whether to profusely apologize or thank them, or both. But one thing I do know for sure, is we are all in this together. The silver lining to all this is, is that turnout was great for the Grassroots Community Workshop that was held at the Landecena Center on Saturday, January 11th.
It was incredible to see so many residents come together to push back against this insanity. It was also wonderful to see Councilmembers Elliott, Velto and Felix in attendance and also, Planning Commissioner Gary Schary too. I can certainly say this, together, the residents are making a HUGE difference! Let’s never give up and never give in. We are one Upland and we say, NO AMAZON IN UPLAND!!! Thank you my friends and readers and until next time, I am most humbled and forever grateful for your friendships, your readership and your support. So, I want to dedicate this song to Upland’s incredible residents, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
*UPDATE: The Sentinel’s article about the 1/9/20 Amazon Workshop Meeting is a must read, HERE! The Upland Planning Commission is schedule to VOTE on the site plan for the 50-acre Amazon Logistical Terminal, plus the project’s Development Agreement and its “shoddy” Environmental Report on February 12th at 406 N. Euclid Ave at 6:30 PM. Let’s pack City Hall to maximum capacity again on 2/12/20 at 6:30 PM and demand our Planning Commissioner VOTE NO AMAZON IN UPLAND!
PLEASE EMAIL UPLAND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS & PLANNING COMMISSIONERS TO TELL THEM NO AMAZON IN UPLAND! THIS ISSUE IS UP FOR A VOTE ON 2/12/20 @ 6:30 PM AT UPLAND CITY HALL, SO BE THERE!
You can cut and paste their collective email addresses below, to send a single email to all, with your concerns and comments:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Yvette@premier-is.com
Got a comment, question or suggestion, please use the contact form below.