Photo of the inside of a shipping warehouse

An ongoing legal battle in Upland, California over a proposed warehouse project rumored to involve e-commerce giant Amazon will continue through at least late April, according to a March 9 continuation notice issued by San Bernardino County Superior Court.

According to a report in The Daily Bulletin, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge David S. Cohn will not hear arguments on the merits of the case until April 23, 2021 at the earliest.

The Upland City Council voted 4-1 in April 2020 to approve Bridge Development Partners’ plans for a 201,096-square foot warehouse and logistics center. Upland Community First — a non-profit formed in response to this decision in April 2020 — filed their lawsuit on July 15, 2020.

The Daily Bulletin’s December 2020 report on the subject said plans included 16 dock-high doors for trucks, 16 van-loading doors, 224 parking spaces, 12 stalls of truck trailer parking, and 1,104 delivery van parking stalls. Bridge Development Partners and its consultants said there would be no significant air-quality impacts.

Upland Community First argued in the suit that since there was not a complete Environmental Impact Report, the public could not truly learn or understand the project’s full impact on the community and the environment. Upland Community First voiced concerns that the over 1,100 parking spaces indicate the project will lead to a significant increase in vehicle traffic and air pollution.

The suit has so far prevented the start of construction of the warehouse project, which is slated to occupy 50 acres in northwest Upland between Foothill Boulevard and 13th Street, and Central and Benson Avenues.

The possible Amazon project in Upland is not the first recent case of construction disputes regarding possible ties to Amazon. In 2018, a large industrial warehouse park in Staten Island, New York — notably occupied by Amazon — faced over $7 million in unpaid construction liens.

Opposition to warehouse project feel unheard due to COVID-19 meeting restrictions

Opponents of the project complained that COVID-19 restrictions prevented the public from making their voices fully heard on the subject at city council meetings. 

The complaint includes the following: “The decision to conduct the meeting by teleconference, along with Respondent’s actions leading up to the meeting, deprived the public of a full and fair opportunity to be heard on the project.”

Opposition to the project includes a separate group, called The Upland Coalition of Concerned Citizens (UC3), which launched a GoFundMe page in April 2020 raising money for legal fees to fight the project. 

Many Upland citizens typed comments about the project to accompany their donations, which totaled $3,065.

Resident Kirk Gudenau wrote: “I do not believe an Amazon Distribution Center in Upland will be good for the city. I believe the traffic, noise, and damage to our streets is not worth any supposed benefit of this distribution warehouse. That and the real possibility that with a foothold in the city it may grow…to the lands adjacent to the warehouse.”

“I was born and raised in Upland,” said resident Marian Nichols. “In winter the citrus groves were kept from freezing by lighting oil in ‘smudge pots.’ Everyone in the area breathed in the black oily air, and had black rings around their nostrils. Now, a lot of us are breathing-compromised and have had bouts of pneumonia through the years. A 24-hour truck terminal on Foothill will add to air pollution every day and night and to the smog-filled days of summer. I am against Bridge building anything in Upland.”

Despite the rumors surrounding Amazon’s use of the proposed facility, Amazon Operations Public Relations Specialist Eileen Hards did not confirm that the proposed site would be an Amazon distribution center.

“We consider many factors when deciding on where a site is located, including a talented workforce and the proximity to our customers so we can deliver at fast shipping speeds — however, we don’t provide information on our future roadmap,” Hards said in an email.

Upland Community First and Bridge Development Partners did not respond to requests for comment by time of reporting. 

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