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San Bernardino County Code Enforcement officers will increase enforcement of illegal trucking operations in the unincorporated area of Bloomington to mitigate environmental hazards and public nuisances in residential areas.
There are more than 100 properties in Bloomington where the number of illegal operations involving truck storage, warehousing hazardous materials on properties, and unpermitted businesses is significantly higher than any other unincorporated area of the County.
“Bloomington is in the midst of designing its future as part of the new Countywide Plan and any illegal operations that currently exist there are not part of the vision,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales whose district includes Bloomington. “The community definitely needs healthy businesses to thrive; businesses choosing to be good actors that comply with local, regional, state, and federal regulations enacted to protect all of our residents. County Code Enforcement will play a key role in ensuring Bloomington’s bright economic future.”
The Board of Supervisors allocated $400,000 in the 2018-19 County budget to address unpermitted truck operations in Bloomington which will allow a Code Enforcement officer to work on the issue full time.
In residential zones of Bloomington, only one tractor-trailer is allowed to be parked as long as the truck and trailer belongs to the owner-operator and is parked in an appropriate area on at least one acre of land.
Evelyn Duke, a longtime resident of Bloomington, lives across the street from a property where trucks were parked illegally before the operation was shut down. She complained about noise and plumes of smoke the trucks would give off when driving onto the property because she saw how it was negatively impacting her elderly neighbors.
“They had eight or nine trucks parked there and we couldn’t open our doors or windows because of the noise and they would leave their trucks idling out there at night,” Duke said. “One of the things that made me most angry was the sound of them changing tires at 10 o’clock at night.”
Code Enforcement currently has several open cases on suspected illegal trucking operations where as many as 20 tractor-trailers are located on one property in a residential zone. A significant number are next to schools. Illegal trucking operations negatively impact air and groundwater quality and increase odor, exposure to hazardous materials and the unsafe operation of trucks on neighborhood streets.
About 2,400 students attend Bloomington High School on Laurel Avenue, a street that has one lane of traffic going each way and several illegal trucking operations in the immediate area. Often right in front of the school, trucks on the narrow street must sit and wait for the oncoming lane to clear of traffic before they can make the left turn from Laurel. This is particularly a problem at crowded school arrival and dismissal times, according to Principal Sandy Torres.
“It does create traffic jams,” Torres said. “It makes it more hectic for our parents when they try to drop off and pick up their kids.”
The increased code enforcement operation has already led to criminal charges being filed against illegal operators who didn’t comply with County codes and other regulations.
A majority of the illegal operations are in areas zoned for single-family residences and must be relocated. A small number of the illegal operations could come into compliance if the owners who are in an appropriate zone applied for a permit to operate or applied for a zone change with Land Use Services.
The County is providing assistance for illegal trucking operators who want to come into compliance and/or relocate their business with the help of a commercial broker. For relocation resources, contact Matthew Mena at the Economic Development Agency at (909) 387-4552. People who need assistance with land use and zoning may contact Ignacio Nunez at Code Enforcement at (909) 948-5086.
Off-Highway Vehicle Officer Mike Lopez was on patrol in the Lytle Creek wash between Highland Avenue and Baseline when he saw the teenager who had crashed.
Lopez immediately contacted Senior Code Enforcement Officer Hugh Oram and Off-Highway Vehicle Officer Michelle Peterson by radio with the location and Oram called San Bernardino police and San Bernardino County Fire to respond.
Due to the extreme nature of the terrain in the wash, paramedics did not have immediate access to get medical care to the injured rider so Peterson took the paramedics, a fire captain and their rescue gear into a County-issued Toyota Tacoma TX Pro so they could quickly get through the terrain to the rider and help him.
Once they reached the rider, the fire captain noticed the rider had multiple femur fractures and other injuries and called for a helicopter to take him Loma Linda University Medical Center.
The teenager’s family members were briefed at a command post on Highland Avenue to get updates about his condition and where he would be taken for treatment. No updates on the rider’s condition are available due to privacy issues.
“Officers Lopez and Peterson did an outstanding job of assisting the injured juvenile rider and facilitating rescue efforts,” Oram said. Because the rider’s injuries were very serious, if Officer Lopez had not discovered the juvenile rider in a timely manner after his injury, I’m sure the outcome of his accident could have been much worse. Because of Officer Lopez’s experience in the Marine Corps and his first aid training, he was able to calmly direct resources and assets and assist the injured juvenile in a very effective manner.”
This is an example of how Government Works.