FRESNO COUNTY, Calif (KSEE) – Some south Fresno residents are fighting the industrialization of their neighborhood.
The South Fresno Community Alliance is made up of residents who live around the North Pointe Business Park, home to multiple distribution plants such as Amazon and Ulta. The residents technically live outside city limits and are considered residents of Fresno County.
On Thursday an agreement between these residents and the City of Fresno outlined safeguards for residents as an extension of the Amazon plant under construction.
“We anticipate the tenant will be Amazon and it will create 1,000 new jobs within the next year,” said District 3 Councilmember Miguel Arias, whose district includes the North Pointe Business Park.
Daniel Macias has lived along East Central Avenue on a property that has been in his family since the 1960s. What used to be an agricultural area is now home to massive distribution facilities.
“Three, four years ago it was orchards, orchards and fields,” Macias said.
The new warehouse will be built on Northpoint Drive, right across the street from the current Amazon fulfilment plant. The South Fresno Community Alliance and their lawyers with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability have listed demands for the city in order to make living next to the bustling industrial park more bearable.
“I would like to see improvements as far as environmental impacts: traffic, light, noise, dust, smog,” Macias said.
The agreement says the developer will pay $300,000 to help make improvements to nearby homes, addressing the concerns expressed by Macias.
“Part of that development is funding a community benefit fund that will replace windows, add installation, fund air filtration systems and air conditioners that will all help with the noise, air pollution, and traffic mitigation,” Arias said.
Another major part of the agreement is incorporating these residents onto the Fresno city water lines which already serve the business park and its warehouses. As residents live outside city limits, they rely on their own water supply. It could mean more reliable access to drinking water for residents.
“We have private wells, and about half of them are empty,” Macias said. “And either depending on temporary water sources such as tanks or connected to neighbors such as myself.”
Councilmember Arias says construction on the new plant will be completed likely in six months.
Improvements on residents’ homes will be planned over the course of this year but there is no set timeline. Councilmember Arias says these negotiations are several years in the making and took to social media Thursday to apologize to these residents for the slow process. But he says this settlement will lead to longtime residents and new industry coexisting.
“It took too long, that’s why I publicly apologized to them,” Arias said. “It should have been done years ago, but now we’re correcting a historical wrong.”