IE Business Daily

November 15, 2014

The City of San Bernardino has a long history of rejecting private investment opportunities within her boundaries. Opposition to private development both large and small have ranged from objections to minor land use changes to the adoption of strict foothill development codes to rejection of the reuse of existing railroad right of ways for an intermodal facility at former Norton Air Force Base.

Large government projects that will have little economic impact on San Bernardino are routinely pursued and approved. Recent examples embraced by the city include the $240 million San Bernardino International Airport, the $200 million SBX “rapid bus line,” $250 million for I-215 widening, $130 million for the new Rialto Avenue Transit Center, and the recently completed $340 million Courthouse.

While each of these projects provided temporary employment opportunities, none are having the promised economic impact in still bankrupt San Bernardino. The reason for that simple truth is that none of these projects creates economic opportunity. Some provide needed services, but none drives future investment or increases city revenue.

Regardless of the permutations of the opposition to private development in San Bernardino, that opposition over the last several decades has been the catalyst for San Bernardino’s economic and social degradation. Apparently, even bankruptcy is incapable of exorcising the antidevelopment demons that infest city government.

The most recent example: the denial of annexation of the Spring Trails project, a 380 acre, 284 lot upscale housing development in North San Bernardino. This project had previously been approved by the City Council in February of 2013 and the annexation was a procedural requirement. The opposition this time was a handful of residents, who already own homes above the project area also known as NIMBY’s. (Not In My Back Yard.)

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