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Application for Amazon ‘freight terminal’ kicked back by county

The proposed Amazon “last-mile” delivery station on Eighth Street East is in limbo, now that county officials have twice rejected permit applications from the property owner who wants to lease the use of his facilities to the online retail giant.

The first permitting setback was in February when the county Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) decided that a new use permit was required for the project. McNeill had been seeking a permit to allow the existing 249,904-square-foot warehouse, dubbed “Victory Station,” to be used as a freight terminal for the online retailer to deliver packages in the Sonoma Valley region.

In response to the BZA decision, property owner Joseph McNeill quickly began the process to apply for a new use permit. But that second application was rejected as “incomplete” by Permit Sonoma, putting the fate of the Amazon facility into question.

At present, a new application has not yet been filed.

The application from Joseph “Jose” McNeill, owner of the Victory Station property at 22810 Eighth St. E. in Schellville, was filed on March 2, three weeks after BZA members signaled their intent by “straw poll” at its Feb. 11 meeting that they thought the project could not ride on the original site permit issued in 2017.

Among the updated information that Project Planner Blake Hillegas, of Permit Sonoma, requested of McNeill is updated construction plans including lighting, irrigation and landscaping; water and energy conservation plans; transportation, groundwater and green house gas emission information; and clarification of hours of operation.

“If Amazon submits an application that is deemed complete, the environmental analysis and further project review will proceed,” said Bradley Dunn, policy manager at Permit Sonoma.

Earlier this year, the BZA upheld an appeal from two local environmental watchdog groups that argued the proposed “last mile” station should be permitted for use as a “freight terminal,” and that McNeill’s separate use-permit applications for the warehouse and an adjoining parking lot should be combined in a single application.

Among other concerns that the two groups ‒ Mobilize Sonoma and the Valley of the Moon Alliance ‒ had included were that Amazon did not address numerous environmental impacts, such as flood control, groundwater and sanitation, potential hazardous materials at the parking site, and noise abatement for the freight facility propsed to operate 24/7.

An application for the project under a description as a “freight terminal” would require an initial study under California Environmental Quality Act guidelines, and the review process would determine whether or not the application required an environmental impact report.

Email Christian at christian.kallen@sonomanews.com.

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