Tuesday night's city council meeting
Construction at a controversial Nestle water bottling plant in South Sacramento will restart again Wednesday.
Sacramento city officials ordered a halt to the work last week until the city council could consider an “urgency ordinance” regulating beverage bottling plants. But during Tuesday night’s city council meeting, city staff and Nestle representatives worked out a closed-door compromise – and the ordinance didn’t even come up for a vote.
Nestle started work on its bottling plant last month after leasing the property over the summer. But some residents and council members voiced environmental concerns and objected to a lack of public input. That led to last night’s council meeting – where the city attorney said any new ordinance wouldn’t affect the Nestle plant, since it’s already started construction. So the city and Nestle went into a back room and hammered out conditions for most – but not all – work to resume tomorrow.
Afterwards, both sides said they were pleased with the outcome. Here’s Jim Rinehart with the city’s economic development department.
Rinehart: “Even though it delayed it, what, 72, 96 hours, in the end, everybody seemed to say, okay, this is an acceptable decision. We did the right thing. We paused, took a breath, and now we’re moving forward.”
And Nestle’s Brendan O’Rourke said the company wasn’t having any second thoughts about moving into Sacramento.
O’Rourke: “Businesses like certainty. You can’t change in the middle of the process. And I think that’s what the city council recognized tonight, and I’m happy with that decision.”
So work at the Nestle plant starts again Wednesday, with completion set for early next year. But the ordinance to regulate future bottling plants isn’t dead – it’s heading to a city council subcommittee for more research.