POMONA - A zoning change that would have allowed an Ontario-based lift equipment dealer to move its operations to southern Pomona was turned down by the City Council this week.

Council members voted against a Planning Commission recommendation to approve an ordinance to allow lift equipment dealerships such as King Equipment to operate in areas zoned for highway commercial and light industrial. The businesses would have been subject to a conditional use permit.

Councilwomen Danielle Soto and Paula Lantz voted in support of the proposal and council members Freddie Rodriguez, Cristina Carrizosa, Ginna Escobar and Mayor Elliott Rothman voted against. Councilman Steve Atchley was absent.

Some residents urged council members to approve the proposal, among them Hank Fung who told the council the equipment dealership had already made an investment in preparing a plan and other details associated with their project.

He questioned the type of message the city would send to the business community if it didn't approve the zone change.

Fung added that rejecting the proposal was turning down a business that would generate much-needed sales tax for the city.

The proposal was "gift wrapped and delivered to our door," Fung said.

M. Joyce Bakersmith said if council members rejected the proposal it would reject a business that would produce significant revenue for the city and would do so sooner than a Target store that will anchor a nearby retail center a short distance away.


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The Target store is expected to be completed next October.

Bakersmith added, "This would be absolutely another example of Pomona not being business-friendly."

In October, planning commissioners granted King Equipment authorization to move forward with plans to open a dealership along Rio Rancho Road contingent on the City Council approving the zoning change.

Kevin Knox, who represents King Equipment, said the proposal to bring the equipment dealership was not replacing anything on the site of the second phase of the retail center.

King Equipment "was never considered as part of the development," Knox said. "So it's an addition to" what the development will have some day.

The equipment dealership would require less acreage than the Target store but would generate substantial revenue for the city because it is a regional business serving customers around Southern California.

However, some council members, including Rodriguez, said the equipment dealership was not compatible with the forthcoming retail center.

"That whole area was dedicated to retail," he said.

Councilwoman Paula Lantz said plans for the second phase of the retail center include building a home improvement center near the site where the equipment dealership was interested in opening.

"It's not a bad mix with a home improvement store," Lantz said.

Soto said it was important to note it was a "project that's ready to go."

Fears of hurting another project was prompting council members to hold back and "we would pass up a for-sure thing for something that may not happen," Soto said, referring to the second phase of the retail center that is still in the planning stages adjoining the first phase where Target will be located.

"It just doesn't seem wise to me to forego something that's for sure," she said.

But Rodriguez still had concerns.

"I just don't feel comfortable with the (equipment) operation at this location," Rodriguez said. "Target is a whole different kind of clientel, a whole different kind of business."


Reach Monica via email, follow her on Twitter @PomonaNow, or call her at 909-483-9336.