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Proposed Pixior warehouse faces revocation of permit on grounds of fraud

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HESPERIA, CALIF. (VVNG.com) — A discussion to revoke a previously approved conditional use permit to construct a large warehouse is on the agenda.

During the March 10, 2022 meeting, it was recommended that the Planning Commission consider revoking the previously approved permit on the grounds that it was obtained fraudulently.

The permit in question is for the development of large apparel warehouse and distribution center that will be located north of the California Aqueduct directly next to the Toy Outlet.

The proposed Pixior warehouse will be 444,000 square feet in size, with dock-high parking spaces for unloading areas to accommodate approximately 181 large trucks, and 258 spaces for employee and visitor vehicles.

On September 9, 2021, the Planning Commission voted 4-1 to allow the development of the project, with the requirement that the project adopts a “mitigated negative declaration” pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The mitigated negative declaration (MND) is a process designed to mitigate or avoid a project’s potential significant impacts on the environment. The report is then released and made available for public review and comments.

During the public review period, three comment letters were received from interested parties.

Comment letters were received from the Center for Biological Diversity who expressed concerns regarding the impacts upon the Joshua Trees; the Lozeau Drury law firm who expressed concerns that an EIR should be prepared; and from the Inland Empire Biking Alliance who promoted the use of bicycles.

Before the project was able to be scheduled for approval, the applicant was to resolve the issues that were raised in the comment letters. 

According to the City, the applicant reached an agreement with the Lozeau Drury law firm and they formally withdrew their comment letter. Additionally, the applicant re-designed their parking lot to include bicycle parking to satisfy the concerns raised by the Inland Empire Biking Alliance.

Regarding the third comment letter, the applicant’s representatives emailed the City stating that a settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity was reached.

The agreement required the applicant to make a contribution to a local land trust for the protection and conservation of the western Joshua Trees, and additional on-site mitigation measures, in return, the Center for Biological Diversity agreed to not oppose the project’s approval and development. 

On January 26, 2022, four months after the project was approved, representatives from the Center for Biological Diversity contacted the City Planning Commission stating the applicant refused to sign the settlement agreement after the project was approved.

Staff said they would not have supported approval of the project if the City was aware that a settlement agreement was not reached. 

According to the City, the applicant has consistently ignored repeated requests to finalize the agreement.

“Given that the project has already been approved by the City, there appears to be little motivation by the applicant to sign the settlement agreement,” according to a staff report.

“Staff believes that there is sufficient evidence and adequate grounds to revoke the conditional use permit based on the misrepresentations of the applicant,” according to City Staff.

The item was initially up for discussion on March 10, however, the applicant requested more time to prepare for the meeting, and requested the item be placed back on the agenda to be continued on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

If the conditional use permit is revoked, the applicant will not be permitted to submit an application for the same or similar project for one year from the date of the revocation, per Hesperia Municipal Code Section 16.12.075(C).

The next Regular Meeting of the Hesperia Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2022, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers located at 9700 Seventh Ave, Hesperia, Ca 92345.

Any person interested in the proposal may contact the Planning Department at 9700 Seventh Avenue, Hesperia, California, (760) 947-1224 during normal business hours.

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