A screenshot from the May 21 Beaumont City Council meeting.
The Beaumont City Council last week voted unanimously to move forward with the Beaumont Pointe project. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Cheers erupted last Tuesday after the Beaumont City Council unanimously voted to allow developers to move forward with the Beaumont Pointe project.

“I have no intention of turning Beaumont into a Moreno Valley warehouse community, absolutely not,” Councilmember Julio Martinez said ahead of the May 21 vote. “Which means, then, [letting] future developments know, if you require annexation into our community, that I am upping the bar that you’re going to have to really convince me that it’s going to benefit the community.”

The project, as currently proposed, will be built on roughly 620 acres of vacant land located on the southside of the 60 Freeway, west of Jack Rabbit Trail and north of the proposed Fourth Street extension.

The conceptual site plan for the Beaumont Pointe project includes five buildings for industrial use, a self-storage facility, a 125-room hotel and commercial entertainment district. (Courtesy T&B Planning)

As part of the proposed project, the city will annex approximately 540 acres of property into the city for the development of roughly 5 million square feet for industrial uses across five buildings as well as a 35,000 square foot self-storage building, approximately 250,000 square feet for general commercial uses and a 125-room hotel. The project, as proposed, would also include approximately 125 acres of open space and about 150 acres of open space conservation.

The council previously discussed the project at the March 19 city council meeting when it was continued to April 16. On April 16, discussion was continued to May 21 as the developers worked to address concerns raised by the council.

“I think we’ve been a good, you know, advocate for all aspects of what the city has asked us to do and the focal point of this,” developer Phil Cyburt said. “We’re excited about getting this approved and moving forward.”

Those who spoke in favor of the project during the public hearing included residents and union members who urged the council to approve the project due to the number of jobs it would bring to the community.

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“My backyard overlooks Jack Rabbit Trail, and is one of the closest houses to this project,” John Sisely, a resident and Local 364 union member, said. “I can tell you, the vast majority of my neighbors are all for this project.”

Others who spoke in favor of the project touted the number of jobs it would bring to the community, both temporary and permanent.

But those who spoke against the project, all residents of Beaumont, urged the council to take a step back and reevaluate the long-term impacts a project like this would have on the community’s health and quality of life.

“The short-term benefits do not outweigh the long term costs of our community’s health and well being,” Brian Sanchez, a resident, said. “This is not fear mongering. This is the reality.”

Others who spoke against the project highlighted how it would exacerbate the area’s traffic problems and negatively impact the region’s air quality.

Despite concerns raised by some residents, the council voted unanimously to move forward with the project after clarifying some of the finer details of the development agreement.

“I’ve spoken to many people over the last few months, and since I’ve been on the council, asking them questions about what their feelings are about warehouses, and the general consensus is, if you put it in the right place, it makes sense,” Mayor David Fenn said. “And I think this is in the right place, and it follows the guidelines that this council has put a lot of effort in to make that happen.”

As part of the development plan, which has an initial term of 10 years with an option for a five-year extension, the city will annex the property within 12 months of the effective date, the developer will either create or annex the project into an existing communities facilities district to cover the ongoing cost of infrastructure and services and the developer will make a community contribution of $1.40 per square foot of industrial space with a $2 million incentive if the developer is able to secure a fulfillment center as a tenant for one of the buildings.

The ordinance approving the agreement will have to come back before the council once more for a second reading. It will go into effect 30 days after final approval.

A full recording of the meeting can be found here on the city’s YouTube page.

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