The Cypress Corporate Center Master Plan was adopted in 1981 and designates 110.43 acres for business park uses with a development potential of 1,354,000 square feet of building area. The City Council amended the Specific Plan in 1989, adding 39 acres and 852,000 square feet of development potential.
The Mitsubishi Motors of America project was approved in 1982 (CUP No. 441) as a multiphase development that included up to 500,000 square feet of office, warehouse, and research and development uses, a height variance for the office building and a parking variance. The first phase was constructed in 1983 and consisted of the warehouse which operated as a parts depot. The office building was constructed and received its certificate of occupancy in 1988.
The project is located on 22.3 acres at the southwest corner of Katella Avenue and Holder Street. The applicant proposes to develop a last-mile delivery facility leased to, and operated, by Amazon, Inc.
The site includes a 150,000-square-foot (sf) warehouse, a 180,000 sf office building, and 70,000 sf of research and development (R&D) buildings. The R&D buildings and a 4,000 sf mezzanine in the warehouse will be demolished as part of the project. The warehouse will be remodeled. The office building along Katella Avenue will be maintained (but kept vacant) to screen the project and preserve the business park’s appearance.
SUBJECT PROPERTY AND SURROUNDING LAND USES
Existing Project Site Condition
The site is bounded on the north by Katella Avenue, on the west by commercial/industrial uses, on the south by the Stanton Storm Channel, and on the east by Holder Street. The site is comprised of several buildings, a paved parking lot, tennis courts, and landscaping. There is a loading dock on the northern wall of the warehouse. Exposed soil and decomposed turf grass is present east of the existing warehouse. An eight-foot (ft) high landscaped berm along the entire length of the southern boundary was constructed as a buffer between the business park and residential uses to the south. Attached to this report is a vicinity map detailing the project site.
Existing water, sewer, and dry utilities along Katella Avenue and Holder Street serve the project. Most of the site is paved and ornamental landscaping is present around the buildings and along the edges of the site. Public sidewalks exist on the site’s northern and eastern borders along Katella Avenue and Holder Street. Vehicular access to the site is provided from two driveways off Holder Street.
The project site is bounded by the following uses:
||Stanton storm channel with single-family residential uses south of the channel
General Plan/Current Zoning/Specific Plan
The General Plan designates the site as “Specific Plan Area” because it is subject to the Cypress Corporate Center Amended Specific Plan (Specific Plan). The site is zoned PC-2, Cypress Corporate Center, which provides for the development of business park uses.
The proposed last-mile delivery facility is a relatively new use and does not clearly fit into any of the Specific Plan’s permitted uses, but is eligible for a CUP as detailed in the Entitlement Review section of this report.
The Specific Plan establishes development standards for the site:
|Holder Street Side Setback (east)
|Side Setback (west)
||Two-story (maximum 40 feet)
The Specific Plan (Section III C. 9) requires trucking and loading not face an arterial road (Katella Avenue) or residential uses. The loading docks and truck staging are on the north side of the warehouse and comply with this requirement. The loading areas also comply with Specific Plan requirements for setback, architectural design, and safe truck operation.
According to the applicant, the last-mile delivery facility is the last segment of Amazon’s order fulfillment process. Packages are dispatched from distribution centers (first-mile) to sorting facilities (middle-mile) and then to smaller warehouses (last-mile). Packages are delivered to the customer from the last-mile delivery facility, which serves the final five to ten miles packages travel. Amazon is in the process of building a last-mile network in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Last-mile deliveries to Cypress currently originate from an Amazon facility in Anaheim. Amazon last-mile facilities only fulfill Amazon orders. While Amazon does not provide services to other outside companies, the following condition of approval is recommended:
The facility is proposed to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Standard, daily operations will involve:
- Amazon shall not provide delivery operations to other on-line shopping or delivery companies.
Amazon partners with delivery service providers (DSPs) to deliver packages to customers. DSPs will utilize a staggered shift pattern for delivery starting around 9:00 AM:
- Approximately 190 total delivery vans dispatched in 20 minute increments between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM.
- Approximately 50 delivery passenger vehicles that arrive between 4:00 PM and 4:30 PM and that load and depart every 15 minutes.
- Approximately 18 line haul trucks that deliver packages to the last-mile facility, generally between 5:00 PM to 8:00 AM.
- Approximately 117 employees whom arrive between 1:30 AM and 5:30 AM which mitigates traffic during morning rush hour.
- Approximately 55 employees whom arrive between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM which mitigates traffic during afternoon rush hour.
Amazon Flex will also operate from the site. Amazon Flex utilizes passenger vehicles (rather than vans) to deliver packages:
- Vans departures will be staggered, with the first vans leaving around 9:30 AM and the last vans leaving around 11:30 AM.
- Vans will depart at a rate of 40 vans every 20 to 30 minutes (five to six dispatch waves).
- Each van will depart and return to the last mile delivery facility only once a day.
- Vans require eight to 10 hours to complete their delivery routes will return to the facility between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM.
The site will increase operations for Amazon Prime Day and throughout the holidays (Black Friday to Christmas).
- Approximately 50 delivery passenger vehicles arrive between 4:00 PM and 4:30 PM.
- Flex vehicles load and depart every 15 minutes between 4:30 PM and 5:00 PM.
- Flex vehicles do not return to the site.
- Approximately 20 additional line-haul truck deliveries (38 total) arrive daily.
- Approximately 280 additional delivery vans depart between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM.
Site Plan Review
The Municipal Code establishes minimum parking requirements, although many businesses provide additional spaces to meet their needs. The Municipal Code requires 120 spaces for the last-mile delivery facility.
||1 space / 250 sf
|Warehousing, wholesaling, and distribution facilities
||1st 20,000 sf: 1 space / 500 sf
2nd 20,000 sf:1 space / 2,000 sf
Above 40,000: 1 space /4,000 sf
Based on its operational needs, the applicant will provide 779 parking spaces, including clean air, vanpool, electric vehicle (EV) charging, and van parking spaces. Nine trailer parking spaces and 20 bike spaces are proposed.
|Auto Parking Provided
|Standard (9’ x 18’)
|Accessible (9’ x 18’)
|Auto Van Accessible (12’ x 18’)
|Clean Air / Vanpool / EV (9’ x 18’)
|EV-Charging (9’ x 18’)
|Van Vehicle (EV-Charging) (11’ x 27’)
|Trailer Parking Provided
|Trailer (12’ x55’)
|Bike Space Provided
While the project meets parking requirements, the following condition of approval is recommended to address concerns over employees parking in residential neighborhoods:
Building Design and Landscaping
- Amazon employees and delivery service providers are prohibited from parking in residentially zoned areas.
The project will occupy an existing warehouse which will receive architectural updates and minor modifications. The architectural design includes complementary colors and a variety of building materials consistent with Specific Plan design guidelines. The exterior design will include clear anodized mullions, blue reflective glazing, and white painted walls. The project will preserve the office building along Katella Avenue for aesthetic/screening purposes. To ensure that the office building remains vacant and in good condition, the following conditions of approval are recommended:
- The existing 180,000 square foot office building shall be vacated and the building shall remain empty. The Certificate of Occupancy will be revoked and the building shall remain in place solely for aesthetic purposes to screen the project site from views along Katella Avenue. A covenant, prepared by the City Attorney, shall be recorded against the property prohibiting occupancy of the building. Any proposed changes to the office building use require City Council approval. Prior to issuance of any grading or building permits, the applicant shall provide proof the covenant has been recorded. The City shall be permitted to inspect the interior of the office building in response to complaints. (Planning)
- The existing 180,000 square foot office building shall be maintained in a manner consistent with the Cypress Corporate Center Amended Specific Plan, the City of Cypress Municipal Code, and per these conditions of approval. (Planning)
- Subject to the approval of the Community Development Department, all signage on the property shall reflect the current tenant. The monument sign located on Katella Avenue shall be refaced to reflect the current tenant.(Planning)
A conceptual landscape plan provides new and refreshed landscaping throughout the site. A variety of trees, shrubs, and grass landscaping and landscape improvements include:
- New finger and island planters in the parking areas;
- Maintaining existing grass street frontage on the northern border of the site;
- Additional trees throughout the site;
- Additional shrubs and ground cover in the landscape berm along the Stanton Storm Channel;
- Maintain existing trees and shrub hedge along the fence on the western edge of the site; and
- Maintain and add to the existing pine trees on the eastern edge of the site.
The site’s landscaping has been neglected during the entitlement process and the applicant will restore landscape in the parking area and on the Stanton Storm Channel to City standards, which will significantly increase the amount of trees on the property. The applicant has also agreed to plant 25% more trees than required to improve air quality. These landscaping improvements are recommended conditions of approval.
Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
The City, as Lead Agency, determined the project could have a significant effect on the environment and required an EIR to evaluate potential environmental impacts from its development and operation. The attached Draft EIR was prepared in accordance with the State of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines. The EIR also complies with the City’s CEQA implementation procedures.
Pursuant to State CEQA Guidelines, Section 15123, the EIR acknowledges the areas of controversy and issues to be resolved that are known to the City or were raised during the scoping process. The City held a virtual public scoping meeting on Thursday, June 18, 2020, to present the project and to solicit input from interested parties regarding environmental issues that should be addressed in the EIR. The issues and concerns raised in response to the Notice of Preparation (NOP) or at the scoping meeting are analyzed in the Draft EIR.
The Draft EIR includes an analysis of Cumulative Impacts and considers 27 related-projects within Cypress, Los Alamitos, Garden Grove and Stanton. The Draft EIR also includes a discussion of Significant Unavoidable Impacts (none were identified), Alternatives, Identification of the Environmentally Superior Alternative, and a Summary of Impacts and Mitigation Measures.
The Draft EIR provides a detailed analysis of all the State-mandated environmental topics. There were no topics identified as having a significant impact. This report summarizes the Draft EIR transportation and noise analysis as these areas are of greatest concern to the community.
While not required by the EIR, Amazon has committed to making its Cypress delivery fleet all electric to mitigate air quality and noise impacts. The parking areas will be wired with electric vehicle charging infrastructure and Amazon is working with Southern California Edison to transition to electric delivery vans by 2025. The following conditions of approval related to this commitment are recommended:
- All delivery van parking shall be constructed with electric vehicle charging infrastructure capable of charging the entire delivery van fleet at the site.
- Amazon shall transition to an all-electric delivery fleet in the most expeditious manner possible and no later than December 31, 2025. Should circumstances out of Amazon’s control delay an all-electric delivery fleet, Amazon may apply for an extension of up to five years subject to the review and approval of the Community Development Department. An extension longer than five years shall require City Council approval.
TRAFFIC AND NOISE ANALYSIS
On Site Circulation
Primary access to the project will be from three (two existing and one new) driveways from Holder Street. A fourth, right-in/right-out driveway will be added from Katella Avenue and will only be used by employees (delivery vehicles and line haul trucks will be prohibited from using the Katella Avenue driveway). Approximately 40 delivery vans will be staged in a driveway loop on the eastern side of the warehouse, with up to 40 more vans in a holding area. There will be four new loading areas on the eastern side of the warehouse for loading delivery service provider vans. Line haul trucks will not use these loading doors. An emergency vehicle gate will be installed in the fire-lane at the southwestern corner of the site. To ensure that the fire-lane is only used for emergency vehicles and not by Amazon or its employees, the following condition of approval is recommended:
- The fire-lane located along the southern property perimeter shall only be used for emergency vehicles and shall be gated and locked at the southwestern corner per fire department requirements.
While the project does not propose, or require an extension of Holder Street over the Stanton Storm Channel, as additional protection for the residential neighborhood south of the site, a condition of approval that prohibits traffic from the site traveling south on Holder Street is recommended:
- All traffic exiting or entering the site from Holder Street shall only access Holder Street from Katella Avenue. (Engineering)
The applicant reports Amazon’s delivery algorithms avoid residential streets (other than for delivery to a residence). To address community concern that delivery vehicles will use residential streets to avoid traffic along major arterials the following condition of approval is recommended:
- All delivery vehicles shall be prohibited from traveling on local residential streets unless a delivery is occurring within that residential neighborhood. (Planning)
Level of Service (LOS) Analysis
The EIR found the project will not result in any significant traffic impacts. A trip generation analysis was prepared and determined the number of trips that will occur from the project. The trip generation analysis concluded the project has the potential to generate approximately 2,606 Average Daily Trips, including 278 trips (125 inbound and 153 outbound) in the AM peak hour and 360 trips (228 inbound and 133 outbound) in the PM peak hour.
The Draft EIR studied eight intersections and concluded all the streets studied will continue to operate at satisfactory levels after project implementation. The trip generation figures are based on operational data from existing Amazon last mile delivery facilities during the 85th percentile of peak season. Section 4.13-1of the EIR includes the detailed transportation impact analysis.
Existing average daily vehicular trips on Katella Avenue from Holder Street to Knott Street are 33,885. Existing average daily vehicular trips on Katella Ave from Holder Street to Valley View Street are 30,054.
Per State CEQA requirements a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) analysis was prepared for the proposed project. The analysis was conducted using the recommendations and guidance of the Office of Planning and Research’s Technical Advisory to address State CEQA Guidelines. Similar to the LOS analysis, the VMT analysis also showed the proposed project would have a less than significant impact and does not require mitigation.
The Draft EIR evaluated noise and vibration impacts, based on procedures and methodologies found in the City of Cypress Noise Element, the Municipal Code, and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) criteria. Noise-sensitive land uses include residences, hospitals, school classrooms, churches, libraries, and parks. Noise-sensitive land uses in the vicinity of the project site include single-family residences south of the site.
The Draft EIR analyzed Construction Noise (which can exceed Operational Noise levels) to determine the impact of project construction at the nearby sensitive receiver locations (residential uses south of the project). The Draft EIR expects Construction Noise levels to range from 41.9 to 65.3 dBA Leq, which is below the 80 dBA Leq noise level that constitutes a significant impact.
Operational Noise consists of noise generated by vehicles accessing the site as well as noise generated by on-site activities. The onsite project-related noise sources are expected to vary throughout the day and include: parcel delivery activity, loading dock activity, truck movements, rooftop air conditioning units, and trash compactor activity.
A project’s Operational Noise levels are evaluated against the existing exterior noise level standards at the nearby noise-sensitive receiver locations. The project’s Operational Noise levels range from 32.2 to a high of 49.8, below the City’s 55 dBA Leq daytime and 50 dBA Leq nighttime exterior noise level standards at all nearby receiver locations. The Operational Noise impacts are consistent with City standards at all receiver locations and no mitigation is required.
Noise readings were taken in the residential neighborhood south of the Stanton Storm Channel which is considered noise-sensitive. The Draft EIR includes a map of the noise measurement locations (Figure 4.11.3). None of the locations measured had a noise increase requiring mitigation.
Focused Operational Noise Assessment
As additional protection for the residential neighborhood south of the site, the attached Focused Operational Noise Assessment was prepared to supplement the noise impact analysis in the Draft EIR. While project-related noise is not a significant environmental impact, the supplemental assessment provides additional insight into potential noise impacts from parking lot activities (such as employee shift changes) and interior noise impacts for the residential units to the south. Per the report, all daytime, nighttime, and residential interior (with windows open) noise standards are complied with. In summary, the project’s operational characteristics will not exceed the City’s noise standards. However, the report does recommend the conditions below to further mitigate any potential noise impacts:
Noise Abatement Measures
To reduce potential Operational Noise impacts in the residential neighborhood south of the Stanton Storm Channel, the Focused Operational Noise Assessment proposes the following conditions of approval which are included in the recommended conditions of approval:
- Limit all parcel delivery activity to 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM with no parcel delivery activity during the noise sensitive nighttime hours between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM;
- Screen roof mounted equipment by a parapet wall of equal or greater height than the highest piece of roof mounted equipment or vent;
- All vehicles shall be equipped with proper operating and well-maintained mufflers;
- Maintain pavement conditions that are free of speed bumps on all driveways to minimize delivery truck noise;
- If the loading docks are full, all delivery trucks shall remain in the designated delivery truck queueing area north of Driveway 3 until cleared to enter the loading dock areas in order to prevent unnecessary idling and truck pass-by noise near the neighboring residential homes;
- The truck loading docks within shall be posted with signs which state:
- Truck drivers shall turn off engines when not in use;
- Diesel trucks servicing the Project shall not idle for more than five (5) minutes; and
- Post telephone numbers of the building facilities manager to report violations.
In addition to the above recommended noise conditions, the following conditions are also recommend and incorporated into the project conditions of approval:
- Amazon shall provide a community service representative and annual communication to residents within 300 ft detailing how to report noise or other complaints to Amazon and the City.
- Remind employees to be quiet and avoid the use of horns, sound systems, and other noise making devices.
- Outside public address speakers, telephone bells, buzzers, and similar devices, which are audible on adjoining properties, are prohibited.
COMPLIANCE WITH SPECIFIC PLAN OBJECTIVES
Development plans and land uses operating on the site are subject to the goals and objectives of the Cypress Corporate Center Amended Specific Plan.
Specific Plan Objective: Allow for a well-designed business park; one which can respond to changing future market conditions.
The project will make improvements to pedestrian and vehicular circulation around and through the site to preserve and enhance the landscape screening protecting residential uses to the south and to ensure an aesthetic consistent with a well-designed business park. The improvements include sidewalks on Katella Avenue and parking lot improvements, (lighting, landscaping and circulation).
The Cypress Corporate Center Land Use Master Plan
Section II of the Specific Plan encourages a variety of developments and land uses and outlines four basic Development Concept considerations:
Permit uses within the project area including general and corporate office uses, research and development facilities, warehousing/distribution facilities, light industrial and a limited amount of commercial uses.
- Provide for a variety of land uses
A last-mile delivery facility represents a recent evolution of the traditional distribution chain and is not referenced in the Specific Plan which reflects common land uses in the 1980s when it was adopted. To ensure the business park’s ability to respond to market changes, the Specific Plan provides for a CUP for uses that are consistent with the Specific Plan but not specifically mentioned.
Specific Plan Design Guidelines provide detailed measures to be taken to assure compatibility of uses and protection of sensitive areas.
- Integrate the project and its components within the surrounding areas
The project will maintain and enhance measures in the Specific Plan Design Guidelines to assure compatibility of uses and to protect sensitive areas. These measures include a densely landscaped berm along the Stanton Storm Channel, preserving the office building along Katella Avenue to maintain the office facade and screen the parking and warehouse operations.
The project will use the flat topography to layout an organized and safe parking lot, which will accommodate requirements for car-pool, van-pool and electric vehicles, charging stations and bike parking.
- Take advantage of the flat topographic and other site characteristics, which permits considerable flexibility in the location of land uses
The project will demolish several obsolete R&D buildings and preserve an existing, vacant office building, providing flexible opportunities to address market changes. With a CUP, the last-mile delivery facility is consistent with the Specific Plan’s intent to accommodate market changes.
- Provide sufficient flexibility for future anticipated market changes
The project is in the PC-2 zone and the Cypress Corporate Center Amended Specific Plan. The last-mile delivery facility is relatively new and does not clearly fit into any of the Specific Plan’s permitted uses. Specific Plan Section III, 3. i. allows uses consistent with the intent of Section 1 subject to a CUP. One of the Specific Plan objectives is to “Allow for a well-designed business park; one which can respond to changing future market conditions.” The Specific Plan calls for the City to “Provide sufficient flexibility for future anticipated market changes.” Consistent with these Specific Plan provisions, a CUP is the applicable entitlement process.
Findings for a CUP are outlined by State law and Section 4.19.070 of the Zoning Ordinance. The findings required for approval of a CUP are included as an attachment to this report.
PUBLIC HEARING / PUBLIC OUTREACH PROCESS
Public hearing notices were posted, published in the Orange County Register, and mailed to the owners of all properties located within 300 feet of the project and to those who responded to the Draft EIR. The Final EIR was posted on the City’s website on November 13 and this report was posted on November 16. All public noticing requirements have been met.
The City hosted a public scoping meeting for the Draft EIR on June 18, 2020 and the applicant, hosted virtual community meetings on September 10, November 11, and November 13.
All written communication related to the public hearing received prior to the publishing of the City Council agenda is attached. Written communication submitted by 3:00 p.m. on November 23 will be part of the public hearing’s administrative record.
If the City Council identifies issues which should be addressed prior to taking action on this application, the City Council may consider:
- Including additional conditions of approval; or
- Continuing the public hearing and direct staff to work with the applicant to resolve any identified issues; or
- Continuing the public hearing, make findings for denial and direct staff to return with a resolution of denial.