Riverside officials have given a developer the green light to build a pair of warehouses spanning about 600,000 square feet next to a wilderness park.
The Riverside City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday, Jan. 25, to approve KB Development’s plan for the Sycamore Hills Distribution Center on the north side of Alessandro Boulevard, east of Barton Street. The 48.6-acre site borders the city’s Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park. The council also approved an environmental analysis undertaken for the project.
One building would cover 400,000 acre-feet; the other 203,100 square feet.
Council Member Clarissa Cervantes, whose Ward 2 includes the project site, citing near-unanimous opposition to the project from people who have contacted her about it, voted no. Some residents, she said, suggested Riverside should not allow more warehouses in the Inland Empire’s largest city, because of impacts such as increased truck traffic and air pollution.
Council Member Chuck Conder countered that warehouses have become “part of our new society” because people have grown accustomed to ordering products online and having them delivered quickly.
Conder said there are few choices for building at the Alessandro site because it’s near March Air Reserve Base and in an area vulnerable to airplane crashes.
“Nothing else can really go here, that’s the thing,” he said.
Other council members said zoning for the property permits logistics centers.
Council Member Ronaldo Fierro said he has concerns about the negative effects of warehouses, but KB Development has followed the rules and pursued a project in a place where the city allows that type of development. If council members want to consider whether more warehouses should be allowed in Riverside, he said, they should have that discussion later and not in the context of one single project.
Council Member Steve Hemenway said he would support such “a larger conversation about warehouses and what we’d like to see in the city of Riverside for the future.”
KB President Darrell Butler said his firm will build a parking lot and a trailhead that provides access to the wilderness park, and preserve rock outcroppings. A new traffic signal will be installed along Alessandro Boulevard.