The Chino City Council unanimously approved a zone change Tuesday night to allow the Chino Valley Unified School District to build new headquarters and clear the way for a warehouse to be built on the end of the lot fronting Yorba Avenue.
The council inserted a condition to further curb truck traffic.
The zone change from industrial to public was delayed for several months over concerns about warehouse truck traffic that would potentially snarl the two-lane roadway between Schaefer and Chino avenues.
The council’s condition requires that trucks are limited to entering Yorba from Schaefer going north and exit Yorba going south.
The entire parcel of land is owned by the school district. The project’s developer, Xebec Inc, will build both the school district building and the adjacent warehouse.
The agreement means the school district will get a new building at no cost.
After barely passing the Chino planning commission in April, the council punted the plan back to the commission for more information.
At the July 19 planning commission meeting, the developer offered to spend about $445,000 in improvements to widen Yorba and to mitigate traffic flow concerns, prompting the commission to pass the plan by a vote of 6-1 in July, with Commissioner Jody Moore against it.
Those improvements include widening Yorba from Chino Avenue in the north to Schaefer in the south to 44 feet overall—adding one northbound lane and one southbound lane, as well as a median turning lane in front of the project.
A two-way left turn lane will be built at both ends of the Yorba segment to mitigate truck traffic.
Chino transportation manager Dennis Rawls noted the expected traffic increase will be around 168 trucks in the area per day.
On-street parking gone
Notably, there would be no street parking allowed on either side of the southern segment of Yorba Avenue once the improvements are put in place.
Employees of the nearby meat packing plant currently use the street to park their cars. Mayor Pro Tem Marc Lucio inquired whether those employees have been properly informed.
Development services director Nick Liguori said the plant did have an application to the city to improve onsite parking at the site but were “probably not fully aware” of the plan to take out street parking altogether.
Mayor Eunice Ulloa said it would be incumbent on the city to let those employees know.
“We need to be considerate of that and let them know it’s coming way ahead of the [improvement] program,” she said.
Councilmember Karen Comstock, in whose district the project resides, noted that despite the mitigation measures offered by Xebec, her constituents are concerned about the increase of truck traffic on streets such as the narrow Chino Avenue.
During public comment, Chino resident Stubbie Barr offered to play “devil’s advocate” about the proposed project.
Mr. Barr said the mitigation measures would not lead to a decrease in traffic and was displeased that the school district building and the warehouse were part of the same project.
“If you have a one-lane road, it doesn’t matter if the one lane road is 11 feet wide or 22 feet wide, it’s still a one-lane road,” he said. “And that’s the problem with this. A warehouse is not appropriate in this location.”
Greg Stachura, the superintendent of facilities and planning for the school district, said that if there are any complaints from neighbors about truck traffic, the district will address the concerns with the warehouse tenant.
“Until we have self-driving trucks that you can program, truck traffic will be a problem no matter where you go,” he told the council.