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

In 2016, the nightmare Carlos worried about landed in her mailbox. She received a letter from a developer that wanted to buy her home to make way for more warehouses. She knew right away that she wouldn’t take their offer, but she was still worried about how her neighborhood might change if the project moved forward on nearby land. 

“Are we going to be able to keep this lifestyle with warehouses going up in the backyard?” she says. “I’m already imagining that kind of future for Bloomington: the truck pollution, the noise, the lights that the warehouses produce. Are the horses going to be able to sleep?”

Even after declining the offer, Carlos says she gets calls about once a month from solicitors telling her that they’re interested in buying properties in her area. She quickly tells them she’s not interested. 

She’s still fighting the developers that tried to buy her out in 2016 as part of a neighborhood association called Concerned Neighbors of Bloomington. They’re trying to stop one of the biggest proposals yet for new warehouse space, called the Bloomington Business Park Specific Plan. The county is still reviewing an Environmental Impact Report for the project and will hold a couple more public hearings before making a decision on whether to approve the project. If it moves forward, the plan could transform over 200 acres where dozens of homes and small agricultural businesses are now. 

Carlos and her neighbors are anxiously waiting to hear when the next hearing will take place. On weekends, Carlos sets up an information table alongside vendors selling home-grown vegetables, tacos, and pupusas at pop-up street markets where residents like to gather. She hands out flyers with information about proposed warehouses. Developers are only required to notify the nearest residents of their plans, but Carlos believes the whole community deserves to know what’s going on.

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