During Wednesday evening’s Bakersfield City Council meeting, council members voted unanimously to approve the Majestic Gateway Project despite the health and safety concerns posed by residents of South Bakersfield where the warehouse will be built.
Leading up to the decision made by the Bakersfield City Council, activists and residents expressed their disapproval about placing an industrial warehouse in the middle of their neighborhood, which will lead to increased trucking traffic, heavy lights, noise, and other disturbances.
The project, which was initially presented to residents as only a commercial shopping center, will include 34 acres (187,500 square feet) of commercial property and 57 acres (1,012,185 square feet) of industrial property.
“As a resident of the area, we’ve been misled. We all expected a shopping center there. I know Bass Pro Shops was supposed to open up but that went nowhere and now they’re trying to drop a million-square-foot facility there — it’s going to be an attractive nuisance. Also for street takeovers, a big giant parking lot like that is just asking for trouble,” said South Bakersfield resident Alfredo Osornia to the council members. “There are a lot of schools right there that trucks are going to have to cut through these streets to get through and it’s a safety issue.”
Osornia also acknowledged that the company had sent out letters to residents within a 300-foot radius and pointed out that those letters would have only reached a handful of houses surrounding the project’s location whereas the people impacted will be in the thousands.
“We are deeply saddened to see the Bakersfield City Council vote in favor of the general amendment plan change and rezone for the proposed project on South H Street and Hosking Avenue. We believe that this project will bring a lot of environmental impacts to the surrounding areas as well as the community of Greenfield in the upcoming years,” stated Sandra Plascencia, a Policy Advocate for Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability.
Once again, residents during the meeting spoke out against the industrial side of the project. They fear how increased pollution and heavy trucks on the street will impact their health and their safety as the areas surrounding South H and Hosking are already heavily trafficked and in need of road improvements.
Additionally, the city currently has very few mitigation measures in place to counteract the environmental impacts that the Majestic Reality Company deemed as significant and unavoidable. As of now the only mitigation measures that have been proposed are street upgrades to the intersections in front of the project only.
“We are in a place where we’re surrounded by both ag and oil and now industry. I want to thank all the residents who were able to join us and voice their concerns. This was a month’s long effort and we were strong until the very end,” Plascencia stated.
Another main concern with the warehouse was the reality that it will be placed within a two-mile radius of 19 different schools and various residences in the area. These schools and residences include:
- Residences (various) – the closest residence is 0.04 miles away from the project
- Greenfield State Preschool – 1.6 miles away from the project
- Greenfield County Preschool – 1.2 miles away from the project
- Ridgeview Christian Preschool – 1.77 miles away from the project
- Horizon Elementary – 0.6 miles away from the project
- Golden Valley High School – 0.75 miles away from the project
- Olliver Middle School – 0.72 miles away from the project
- Valle Verde Elementary School – 0.98 miles away from the project
- McKee Middle School – 1.23 miles away from the project
- W. A. Kendrick Elementary School – 1.5 miles away from the project
- Greenfield Middle School – 1.56 miles away from the project
- Greenfield Community School – 1.60 miles away from the project
- Palla Raffaello Elementary – 1.43 miles away from the project
- Fairview Elementary School – 1.94 miles away from the project
- Loudon Elementary – 1.57 miles away from the project
- Granite Point Elementary – 0.59 miles away from the project
- Berkshire Elementary School – 1.17 miles away from the project
- Stonecreek Junior High School – 1.10 miles away from the project
- Ridgeview High School – 1.89 miles away from the project
- Dolores S. Whitley Elementary School – 1.00 miles away from the project