June 21, 2022
The Honorable Robert Hertzberg
Senate Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol, Room 407
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: OPPOSE AB 2840 (Reyes) – Qualifying Logistics Use Projects
Dear Senator Hertzberg,
I write on behalf of Inland Action, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in the Inland Empire region of California, to oppose AB 2840. Our organization has always enjoyed and appreciated our meetings with you and thanks you for your continued interest in our region. We write to you directly because AB 2840 is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. While our organization admires Majority Leader Reyes’s dedication to the region and her commitment to air quality and the health of Inland Empire residents (and, we note, Inland Action’s platform has included advocacy on air quality and public health issues), this bill is too problematic to ignore.
If enacted, AB 2840 would generally prohibit local governments in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties only from approving the construction or expansion of any “qualifying logistics use” (i.e., warehouses, at least) that are within 1,000 feet of a “sensitive receptor.” Further, it would require the project applicant for any approved qualifying logistics use to develop a construction careers agreement requiring all work to be performed by a “skilled and trained workforce” and requiring a “set percentage” of jobs to go to “local residents.” Our concerns are multi-faceted:
First, AB 2840 cuts at the heart of local control. Instead of trusting local decision makers in the Inland Empire to determine which land uses are appropriate in their community, this bill would transfer that authority to Sacramento. Several cities and counties in the Inland Empire have already implemented good neighbor policies on warehouse development and others have implemented moratoriums on warehousing. Inland Action asks that these decisions be left to local leaders, to be implemented through the normal planning process after compliance with various local and state laws, including CEQA. In particular, Inland Action sees no reason why local authorities in our region should be deprived of their ability to develop their own land use solutions when the rest of the State remains unaffected.
Second, as drafted, the bill is vague and much too nebulous for local governments and applicants. Several key terms in the bill are either undefined or insufficiently defined, which will almost certainly: require future clarification by the legislature; result in additional legal and consulting costs for applicants and local governments; and encourage litigation over projects. For example, among other things, the term “sensitive receptor” covers “a residence,” “a community center,” and “an established community place of worship.” However, the term community center is entirely without definition, though it seems plausible that a “community center” might choose to locate within an industrial zone. As with a community center, “an established community place of worship” might conceivably choose to be located within an industrial zone – and would likely be permitted to under the federal protections offered to places of worship. Additionally, the term “residence” is broadly defined yet fails to exclude legal non-conforming residences which are located within a portion of a city that has been dedicated to industrial activities for many years. With these definitional issues, it will be very difficult for logistics applicants and local governments to comfortably proceed with almost any project. In a similar vein, the labor portion of the bill requires agreements that require “a set percentage of jobs . . . go to local residents” without setting the minimum percentage and without defining the term “local.”
Third, and perhaps most importantly, this bill will do significant harm to the logistics industry. The logistics industry has proven critical to the State’s, and especially the Inland Empire’s, economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the logistics industry was essential to the movement and storage of medical supplies, vaccines, protective equipment, and food. This bill would likely cause significant long-term disruption to the supply chain and threaten the livelihoods of workers in our region. We strongly discourage any action which might further disrupt the nation’s supply chain and undermine our region’s economy.
In light of the foregoing, Inland Action requests you vote no on this bill during the Senate Governance and Finance Committee hearing. Thank you once again for your time and for your continued willingness to meet with us and engage on issues of importance to the Inland Empire. And Och Tamale!
Carole Beswick, CEO