The council gave consensus to staff to continue a public hearing into the Patterson Logistics project, which would consolidate seven currently planned buildings into a giant 1.27 million square-foot facility on property that was once the Patterson Airport, citing a lack of information and inability of staff and developers to answer questions regarding impacts the project would have on traffic during a two and half hour inquiry. It is the second time the matter has been continued by the council, who continued it October 8. Councilman Larry Buehner recused himself from the hearing due to a conflict of interest.
The project, which developers now admit has a mystery tenant that wants to be up and running by fall 2014, would change a 2010 plan for seven buildings totaling 1.27 million square-feet to one giant rectangular building with a footprint of 1.27 million square feet. The project calls for 1,061 parking spaces, which officials say would be less than there would be with seven smaller buildings.
The plan for the building includes separate turn lanes into the facility, a new traffic light at a built out Haggerty Road, and excludes left turns out of a parking lot driveway east onto Sperry Avenue.
Council members once again hounded staff members and developers about traffic impacts, citing concerns on an area already seeing increased traffic from the newly opened Amazon.com distribution center. The plan for the giant building calls for less traffic than the seven building plan already on the books, staff members and developers say.
Councilmember Deborah Novelli said for the second straight meeting that the city needed to do a better job of planning for traffic.
She said she’d seen six trucks holding up traffic on Sperry attempting to turn left into the busy business complex earlier Tuesday near lunchtime as she tried to return east to town on Sperry Avenue.
Councilmember Sheree Lustgarten, who has also expressed concerns over truck traffic, said she didn’t agree with the assessment by staff members that there would be about 525 truck trips per day on Sperry Avenue accessing the Patterson Logistics. She thought there would be at least 100 more.
Christopher Thnay, a city contract traffic engineer, said that the key to keeping the flow of traffic moving on Sperry is to time the lights properly.
“If we do a signal coordination it will improve traffic, even with the new project,” he said.
Rick Ringler, an engineer from GDR Engineering, who has worked on the project stated at an October 8 hearing on the matter that the impacts would be less than what was originally planned in 2010 with the smaller buildings on the property because smaller buildings usually called for more vehicles per square feet.
He reiterated that Tuesday evening, stating the land has already been approved for more trips.
City Chief Engineer Ken Irwin said that he was currently doing a study on the amount of trucks heading into and out of the industrial area and should have the information ready by the next council meeting to give council members a better idea of the traffic impacts.
Councilman Dominic Farinha said that the questions needed to be answered but that council members needed to determine what information they were seeking before the meeting started.
Mayor Luis Molina said the city had an obligation to balance the safety of the community with increasing business while containing costs.
“We also need to be effective with our time in discussion,” he said.
Novelli once again indicated she needed more information.
“There are too many variables,” she said. “It’s a word problem and I don’t have all of the variables enough to say yes.”
Lustgarten said she didn’t want to make the council look like they were anti-business.
“We just need to be fair to the citizens and to businesses,” she said. “We want to see it done and done smart.”
Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187 or email@example.com.