Gateway El Dorado is a massive Industrial Warehouse Distribution complex in the El Dorado Hills Business Park by PacTrust, a commercial real estate owner and developer headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The potential scope and scale of this e-commerce distribution project eclipse that of Project Frontier and threaten to bring far more trucks, traffic, and pollution than even the worst-case scenario of an Amazon distribution center!

The full scale of Gateway El Dorado, including the two buildings under construction, will be 1.6M gross square feet of floor area with over 350 loading docks and around 3,500 daily vehicle trips. Project Frontier planned only 152 loading docks to serve 4.8M gross square feet of floor area. This warehouse project will function as a highly trafficked e-commerce distribution center.

The developer, PacTrust, describes Gateway El Dorado’s function as Industrial Wholesale Warehouse Distribution, a use that is NOT described in the El Dorado County Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Director’s Interpretation Letter of June 12, 2023, stated:
There is no use listed in the matrix or defined elsewhere in the zoning code for fulfillment centers, heavy distribution, or parcel hub uses. Although the Industrial / R&D Zones Use Matrix (Ord. Code § 130.23.020) includes a use type “Wholesale Storage and Distribution,” that use type does not contemplate the unique needs of fulfillment centers, heavy distribution, or parcel hub uses.
And she goes on to state:
Fulfillment centers, heavy distribution, parcel hub uses could have special safety or public health concerns, particularly related to the amount of truck traffic typically generated from such uses similar to the impacts contemplated for the Industrial – Specialized use type. This use type is allowed with approval of a CUP in the IL and IH zones. It is not allowed in the R&D zone.

PacTrust projects nearly 3,200 additional daily vehicle trips, with 374 occurring during peak morning and afternoon rush hours. These facilities being used for Industrial Warehouse Distribution mean many trucks: box trucks, cab-and-trailer rigs, and delivery vans. That traffic added to the already congested Latrobe corridor means gridlock for the workers commuting to other businesses, parents shuttling students to the 10 schools located in the business park, and the 6,000 residents in the surrounding communities, over half of which are senior citizens.

E-commerce has grown from 4.2% in 1Q2010 to 15.6% 4Q2023. With that growth has come a significant increase in truck traffic. The Pacific Southwest University Transportation Center estimates that today, large trucks with 5 or more axles make more than 2/3s of warehouse
trips, and account for 90% of diesel particulate, 17 % of sulfur dioxide, and 53 % of nitrogen oxide emissions. Public health studies have shown the relationship between these pollutants and such adverse health issues as asthma, and respiratory allergies. This increase in heavy truck traffic, defined as Equivalent single-axle loads or ESAL, significantly impacts road infrastructure, leading to rapid roadway deterioration and increased maintenance costs. Have the streets in the business park streets, such as Golden Foothill Road, been built to accommodate such truck traffic? How about the Carson Crossing residential collector built by Lennar to accommodate the Heritage senior community? In addition to the roadway itself, very costly sound wall mitigation would be required along Carson Crossing.

The explosion of similar e-commerce centers in Northern California surrounding communities like Tracy/Patterson/Stockton/Elk Grove and Southern California communities like Ontario/San Bernardino/Fontana/Beaumont has led to research defining the very real harmful effects of diesel exhaust to neighboring populations, particularly those with senior populations and school-age children. An Industrial Warehouse Distribution center such as Gateway El Dorado is particularly ill-suited for a location within 1 mile of 10 schools, 2 senior communities, and 3 senior care facilities.

The GATEWAY industrial buildings directly impact the ecologically sensitive wetlands of Carson Creek. Located feet upstream from the Federal and state-protected Carson Creek Preserve, potential industrial discharges, water run-off, and truck particulate materials are harmful to this environment. Carson Creek is the habitat for species of special interest, including endangered migratory birds and the western pond turtle. The County must perform a CEQA Environmental Impact Review (EIR) based on new and substantial biological assessments. Carson Creek is an ecological treasure that should be protected above economic interests.