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Riverside's warehouse development project delayed after hundreds voice concerns

Warehouse development project delayed after stiff opposition from neighbors
Warehouse development project delayed after stiff opposition from neighbors 02:34

A massive warehouse project in Riverside was put on hold Wednesday night after hundreds of neighbors shared their concerns during a public meeting. 

"Every once in a while, the good guys win," neighbor Andrew Silva said. "Haven't won yet, but we'd love to fight another day." 

Silva walks his dog in the grassy area behind his home. It was once part of March Air Force Base but had sat vacant for almost 30 years. 

"It's like the one thing that makes me feel some kind of peace," he said. 

Silva was among the dozens of speakers during Wednesday's March Joint Powers Commission meeting. The commission was expected to vote on a proposal to develop 1.2 square miles of the field, which includes warehouses the size of 32 football fields. 

"People were really speaking from their hearts," neighbor Jen Larratt-Smith said. "They were talking about their families, their communities, the air they breathed, the open space they loved."

Dozens of people shared their concerns about a massive warehouse development project during a Riverside commission meeting Wednesday.  Jennifer Larratt-Smith

After five hours of presentation and public comment, the developer Lewis Management Corporation tabled its proposal, and the commission took it off the calendar without rescheduling it, much to the relief of neighbors like Larratt-Smith and Silva. 

"We won a battle but not the war yet, because it is a delay," Larratt-Smith said. 

The developer explained why it tabled its proposal in a statement. 

"After public comment, we felt it would be appropriate to take time and thoughtfully review all of the testimony and provide comprehensive and meaningful responses for the public and Commission," company staff wrote. 

While the land has been slated for development for decades, community members said if they can't keep it as is, they want businesses that provide higher-paying jobs and cause less wear and tear on the roads. 

"It no longer makes sense to put industrial warehouses in a piece of land surrounded by homes," Larratt-Smith said. 

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