Pomona proposes waste ban

After two-and-a-half years of deliberation, the City Council will vote on a proposal to ban new waste and recycling facilities and stop expansion of existing waste businesses on June 5.

The proposal to ban new waste facilities was drafted after community groups like Clean and Green Pomona, United Voices Pomona, and Inland Communities Organizing Network advocated for improved regulation of waste facilities in 2014.

These community groups felt that new waste facilities can bring fire hazards and release dangerous chemicals into the environment, said Development Services Manager Brad Johnson.

The ban faces opposition from industry groups that want to protect their client base.

The proposal is the second version of an ordinance developed by a City Council appointed task force, made up of Pomona residents and stakeholders. The zoning plan would prevent waste businesses from opening in parts of the city previously open to waste facilities.

“It essentially closes the door on any new applicants coming into the city and requesting a business license or a zoning clearance form to open a new business, and it also prevents existing businesses from expanding their volume or the size of the area that they conduct that activity on currently,” Johnson said.

When the City Council placed a temporary ban on new waste facilities in 2014, the task force developed the first version of the ordinance, which put a ban on new waste facilities and set tight regulations on existing facilities. One of those regulations is that all activities had to take place in an enclosed building. The city attorney’s office warned the City Council of potential litigation in which business operators claim that the city owes them financially for putting them out of business.

The second version of the ordinance is a straight ban on all waste facilities except for recycling manufactures, which must apply for a conditional use permit. This permit allows businesses otherwise not allowed by a zoning ordinance to operate within a district as long as they follow certain conditions.

—Aryn Plax

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