Will Sides will be the station manager for the proposed Amazon last-mile delivery station at the former site of Mitsubishi Motors at Katella Avenue and Holder Street. The property stretches south from Katella to the Stanton Storm Channel and west from Holder maybe two-thirds of the way to Hope. Holder dead-ends at the Stanton Storm Channel. Will Sides and his colleagues from Amazon, Duke Realty, and Curt Pringle and Associates have had to address the fear of residents south of the Channel that Amazon will spearhead an effort to bridge the Channel to dump traffic into their neighborhood.
The answer was No, Amazon is not interested in bridging the Stanton Channel.
But that was only one of the concerns brought up by residents.
As station manager, Mr. Sides discussed operations. At a recent virtual community meeting, he explained that —
- although the operation would be around the clock, special care has been taken to minimize noise (no beeping from line-haul trucks backing into the dock — visual signals are used);
- even during peak employment six weeks out of the year, all parking of employee vehicles and of delivery vans will be on site and will not spill over onto nearby streets;
- even though about 18 line-haul trucks will make deliveries daily (more during peak), the trucks will not idle, will not be bunched up, and will drive a set route, monitored by Amazon, down the 605 Freeway to Katella Avenue to Holder Street from Amazon’s “middle mile” facility in San Bernardino;
- vehicular traffic will occur north of the building at the rear of the site, which will minimize noise;
- Cypress municipal code requires that lighting not spill over into surrounding properties; and
- prior tenants of the four corners at Katella and Holder supported many, many more vehicles daily than Amazon will bring to the area.
His colleagues discussed many other issues.
For instance, the Amazon last-mile facility will not bring a direct sales-tax benefit to the coffers of the City of Cypress. But indirect benefits include supporting local small businesses through purchases of food and fuel. Also, Amazon has pledged to be a good community member, donating to schools and hiring local. The purchase of the property by Duke Realty has reset the property’s tax assessment. Some of the resulting increase in property tax will fall into the City’s coffers.
Another instance: vagrancy. Will Amazon (or Duke Realty, which actually owns the property leased to Amazon) patrol the Stanton Storm Channel? Well, no. The Channel is beyond the boundaries of the property. But both Amazon and Duke Realty will provide onsite security — and having an active tenant at that property will discourage trespassing. Right now, that cul-de-sac is a bit spooky.
Every single concern of the residents has been addressed — except for the assertion that their property values will plummet. Amazon’s Stephen Maduli-Williams pushed back, saying that Amazon simply does not believe that the facility will lower the value of residential property on the south side of the Stanton Storm Channel.
The City was so conscientious about resident concerns that they not only requested that Amazon create an environmental impact report (EIR) but also submit a request for a conditional use permit (CUP) despite the EIR not being legally required, nor the CUP strictly necessary under the Cypress Corporate Center Amended Specific Plan.
The City has made available recordings of the Zoom meetings held last week.
The CUP hearing will take place at the regular meeting of the Cypress City Council on Monday, November 23. The staff report can be read at the City’s website. (Staff recommends approval of both the CUP and the EIR.) The meeting will be held virtually. If you wish to make a comment, you will need to register with the online meeting software.
Note that the conditions imposed by the CUP are enforceable. If Amazon fails to live up to them, the City can close the facility.
But I expect Amazon to more than live up to the conditions, to be a good neighbor, and to chase away the spooky emptiness of that cul-de-sac.
So I support approval of the CUP and the EIR.