Booming warehouse growth clashes with rural life in California’s Inland Empire

In 2016, the nightmare Carlos was worrying about landed in her mailbox. She got a letter from a developer who wanted to buy her house to make way for more warehouses. She knew right away that she wouldn’t take their offer, but she was still concerned about how her neighborhood would change if the project on the nearby land went ahead.

“Will we be able to maintain this lifestyle with backyard warehouses?” she says. “I already envision such a future for Bloomington: the pollution from trucks, the noise, the lights that the warehouses produce. Will the horses be able to sleep?”

Even after turning down the offer, Carlos says she gets calls about once a month from lawyers telling her they’re interested in buying real estate in her area. She quickly tells them that she is not interested.

She is still battling the developers who tried to buy her out in 2016 as part of a neighborhood association called Concerned Neighbors of Bloomington. They are trying to thwart one of the biggest proposals yet for new warehouse space, the Bloomington Business Park Specific Plan. The county is still reviewing an environmental impact statement for the project and will hold a few more public hearings before making a decision on whether or not to approve the project. Moving forward, the plan could transform more than 200 acres that are now home to dozens of homes and small farms.

Carlos and her neighbors eagerly await the next hearing. On weekends, Carlos sets up an information table next to vendors selling home-grown vegetables, tacos, and pupusas at pop-up street markets where residents like to congregate. She hands out flyers with information about proposed warehouses. Developers only need to notify the nearest residents of their plans, but Carlos believes the entire community deserves to know what’s going on.


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