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Fresno Planning Commission OKs New Coca-Cola Distribution Plant



The Fresno Planning Commission approved a Coca-Cola distribution plant, seen in this rendering. (City of Fresno)
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A representative of a Coca-Cola distribution plant warned that his company could go elsewhere — and take 214 jobs — if a proposed new facility in south Fresno was not approved Wednesday night.

“If the city of Fresno and the county do not want us here, the easy answer is we’re going to end up somewhere else,” Reyes Coca-Cola representative Pehr Peterson told the Fresno Planning Commission. “It would be a loss of jobs if this is not approved because we would be moving somewhere else. There would be other communities that would take us in.”

Despite concerns from environmental groups, commissioners heeded that warning and approved the plant 5-0.

The site on the southwest corner of East and North avenues is zoned for heavy industry. It will include the distribution plant, as well as office space, and a truck maintenance and wash facility.

Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling said it has outgrown its present Fresno County location at Malaga Avenue and Golden State Boulevard.

“To continue to thrive, to continue to grow, we need a new building,” Peterson said. Coincidentally, the proposed location is across the street from a Pepsi bottler.

Peterson said the distributors are converting their fleet to electric vehicles when they open in 2024 and plan for solar. They also committed to local hiring for building the plant.

Location for a new Coca-Cola distribution plant in south Fresno that was approved by the planning commission on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. (GVWire)

Environmental Groups Resist

The move met resistance from environmental advocacy groups. They expressed concern that the construction and operation of the plant would create unhealthy levels of pollution.

“Moving forward with this application contributes to a long-standing pattern of concentrating industrial facilities and development within south-central Fresno. It will continue to perpetrate disproportionate environmental impacts that place vulnerable communities at risk,” said Natalie Delgado of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

City planning staff said the proposal would only create 321 daily passenger and 160 daily truck trips, not creating a significant impact. The city’s planning department recommended approval.

Ivanka Saunders with LCJA expressed skepticism about those numbers.

“We are trying to remind you that those different projects are not following environmental justice protections. And you can sit here and think, well, I should trust my city. We’re telling you organizations do not have successful litigation against the city unless there is proof and evidence that something is amiss. And there is definitely something amiss,” Saunders said.

LCJA wanted a two-week postponement of the vote.

Environmental groups like LCJA have opposed expanding the city’s and county’s industrial zones, mainly found in south Fresno. Last year, Attorney General Rob Bonta sent both the city and county letters questioning whether such project approvals meet state environmental and planning laws.

Commissioners Monica Diaz, Kathy Bray, Haley Wagner, Brad Hardie, and Peter Vang voted in favor. Commissioners DJ Criner and Robert Fuentes were absent.

Arias Will Evaluate

The proposed plant is in District 3, represented by Councilman Miguel Arias. He has not taken a position.

“I will review public records, resident comments, legal exposure, and public health impacts,” Arias said. He will also await Mayor Jerry Dyer’s recommendations “to address traffic, pollution, and health impacts on west Fresno.”

Dyer’s office said he supports the plant.

“The Mayor is fully supportive of Coca-Cola relocating their operations into the City of Fresno. This move will increase our revenues and provide much needed jobs as well as serve as an economic stimulus in the city,” Dyer’s office said.

Arias says the project will come before the city council at an undetermined date.


Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email