Cypress residents unite against Katella Ave project

The Cypress City Council faced a capacity crowd during its Monday, April 8, meeting that organized and came to express their displeasure over the proposed 33-acre Katella Ave truck project.The project began moving forward last November when voters passed measure L, which changed the zoning to mixed-use and light industrial.Residents complained, saying they were sold a senior project for the area before the election, only to have it switched to a truck center after the zoning changed.City Attorney William Wynder told the crowd that the action had nothing to do with the council, and was voter approved.“The residents voted for this measure,” he said. “The council did not put measure L on the ballot, the owner of the property did.”Mayor Prakash Narain addressed the crowd before public comments, and promised everyone there will be plenty of due diligence before the group makes a decision.“There is a lot of speculation in the community about the 33-acre truck site,” he said. “It is important to wait until all the environmental studies are complete, and we expect during late summer.”Narain addresses the EIR scoping meeting held on Wednesday, April 3, and said the purpose of the meeting was to solicit comments from the public about the project.“This meeting is required by the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires that the project undergoes a thorough analysis before the city can approve the project, and encourages input from all parties interested in the potential impact.”There will be many steps needed before the item can be voted on by the council, Narain said, and residents will be encouraged to provide additional input as the EIR report becomes available.“The city desires to preserve the community the residents enjoy, and will diligently ensure the development complies with the applicable regulations.The city has retained the services of independent environmental experts, who will assist in the development of the project.“The city council will review the project once the EIR and correlating reports are complete,” Narain said. “We will look at the environmental impacts, and offer alternatives and mitigation measures.”The city will keep the residents informed about all the latest developments as the project progresses.“There will be press releases, and updates on the local cable television channel and the city’s website,” Narain said.Cypress resident Mike McGill said he appreciates the comments made by Narain.“The proposed project has 124 truck bays, he said. “I drove around the business park hoping to give myself a better perspective and noticed that Shaw, which was a very contentious project, that worked out very well, has 48 truck bays. I looked at places like Panasonic, Mitsubishi, and Yamaha, noticing that most facilities had 10 truck slots or less.”The total number of truck bays in the business park, by his estimate, is between 130 and 140.“The council needs to look seriously at essentially doubling the truck bays in the community,” McGill said. “Revenue for the city is important, but this is a quality of life issue.”Assemblyman Travis Allen sent his District Director Emanuel Patrascu, and he told the council that the representative supports the project.“When Allen ran for office he promised to work hard and improve the economy,” he said. “He believes the most efficient way to grow the economy is at the local level.”Allen supports the process, which will bring all the stakeholders together.“The final process will benefit Cypress and the surrounding community,” Patrascu said. “It takes hard work to complete such a large project. This will result in local jobs.”Pro Logis representative Pat Maloney attended the meeting, and said the group wants to be part of the community.“We are going through a very lengthy process and I want to thank the council for their comments about the EIR process,” he said. “There will be impact and we plan on building responsibly.”Public comments about the project raise concerns, Maloney said, and he has empathy for the residents.“There have been constructive and destructive comments about the project,” he said. “There is false information being sent out by a group that does not want us to know who they are.”Maloney said Pro Logis is not building a truck terminal.“Our intent is to build a high-image, quality corporate headquarters and business park environment similar to what already exists in Cypress.Many companies in the city are looking to grow and consolidate, Maloney said, and they want to be in Cypress.“We are talking to multiple companies that do business in the city right now,” he said. “They need more space.”Pro Logis is a long-term developer, Maloney said, and the group is open to design changes.“We want to work with the community, and encourage constructive commentary,” he said. “The project being studied is a 725,000 square foot industrial business park. That is a large site, and will require an EIR report because it will have impact in the area.Maloney did not discuss the 129 truck bays at the facility, which drew many angry comments from the crowd. In an interview on March 27, Pro Logis representative Nancy Shultz told the Independent the site would have 129 truck bays.“I live on Cerritos backing the site in question and work as a director for safety and environmental authority, and work on air quality permitting,” Resident Ed Kramer said. “I am familiar with the EIR process and the impact of this project does not necessarily represent the quality of life you would expect in our neighborhoods. As the father of a daughter who suffers from asthma, I expect revenue for the city to be generated by clean-air family businesses, not belching diesel.”Wynder said residents who are looking for the council to stand up against the proposal before its due process reaches a conclusion are going to be disappointed.“Since the area in question is private property, the city council will ultimately have to process an submitted application,” he said. “Once received, the city will have a legal obligation to process the application, take evidence in favor of and against the project, schedule a public hearing and make a ruling. If the council stands up in favor of or against the project before the process is completed, each side can accuse the city of pre-judging the project.”The protest moved outside, and Lois Waddle told the crowd the city stood to lose a little wetland area if the project moves forward.“The golf course is a wildlife sanctuary and birds fly into the marshes and the lakes,” she said. “Cypress residents will no longer have half of a recreational and wildlife park and lose the ability to bike around its parameter.”Deputy City Attorney Lindsay Tabaian said residents need to make their sentiments known to ProLogis.“The best thing residents can do is to help the city create a record, so the developer can respond to the concerns,” she said.The next Cypress City Council meeting is Monday, April 22.

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