It’s no question that COVID-19 has ushered in uncertain economic times. Cypress, like all cities in Orange County, is feeling those effects. In fact, we are staring down a nearly 10 percent unemployment rate, locally. While our elected leaders here have taken steps to support small businesses, they should also be doing everything in their power to encourage continued growth and employment opportunities.
On Monday, our City Council will be voting on the Amazon Last Mile Delivery Facility, which is proposed to be located at 6400-6450 Katella Avenue. The vote is to approve the Conditional Use Permit and certify the Environmental Impact Report for this project. This project is slated to repurpose the existing Mitsubishi Motors headquarters, using existing buildings and would be the newest addition to Amazon’s network of Last Mile Delivery Facilities in Southern California.
The basic operations of the facility are pretty straight forward. Trucks deliver items to the warehouse during the overnight hours – on the north side of the property. Those items are sorted and placed in delivery vans. The vans, using GPS-directed routes, leave after the morning rush hour to deliver items purchased through Amazon to residents and businesses within about 6 or so miles of the facility. The delivery shifts last 8 to 10 hours, meaning the vans will return after the evening rush hour. From there, the cycle can begin again.
Traffic and noise are always top of mind issues, aren’t they? However, the operations of this facility would actually produce less traffic than other allowable uses. And, the EIR shows us that there are no impacts when it comes to noise either!
It’s clear that we don’t know when our economy will be back to pre-COVID levels. It’s rare, during economic downturns, that policy makers have an opportunity to take action that will not only bring in a world-class company, with long history of partnering in the community, but can also take action to help produce hundreds of good-paying jobs…during a GLOBAL pandemic.
Amazon expects to create more than 700 jobs at this facility, most of which will be full-time opportunities with benefits. The minimum Amazon will pay employees here is $15.00 per hour, and the company has put policies in place to prioritize local applicants for these jobs.
Amazon takes great pride in its community involvement. Beyond providing supplies to local schools, they also tout the Amazon Future Engineer program. This program provides computer science opportunities for students. The online retail giant also focuses on homeless and hunger issues, committing $130 million to community partners who are focused on ending homelessness and supporting 9 million breakfasts, reaching more than 50,000 underserved children throughout the United States. Further, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon drivers delivered more than 9 million meals to people in need in 25 cities across America.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic took California by storm, according to the Hoover Institute, 765 commercial facilities left the state from 2018-2019. It’s estimated that 13,000 businesses have left California in recent years. We have seen this in our town as well (Vans, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Mary Kay). Now we have an opportunity to buck that trend and welcome in a community partner that will help our City and produce jobs. This should be a no-brainer for our elected officials and I hope they do the right thing Monday night and approve the Amazon Last Mile Delivery Facility.
Cypress Business Owner
Board Member, Cypress Chamber of Commerce