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La Quinta surf park proposal faces wave of backlash, but city study finds few impacts

Some residents in La Quinta communities are speaking out strongly against a proposed surf park seeking city approval, worried about light and noise pollution, water usage and traffic. But a new report from the city found the project will have few impacts in the areas of their concerns.

The project, called Coral Mountain Resort, is still under review and hasn't yet been looked at by La Quinta's city council. Residents, however, who live in several communities surrounding the proposed site say its forward project must be stopped.

"This is just the wrong place for this," Kelly Welton said. This doesn't belong in the middle of a residential, quiet area."

Welton and fellow Trilogy resident Derek Wong are members of the grassroots group La Quinta Residents for Responsible Development. They said they've gathered hundreds of signatures from residents in nearby communities who oppose the surf park.

The private resort would include a nearly 17-acre wave pool, 150 hotel rooms, 600 short-term vacation rentals, and a variety of other recreational facilities.

News Channel 3 reached out to developers of the project, Meriwether Companies, but have not heard back. City leaders said they couldn't comment on the project until a vote is in front of them.

The land where the surf park would be built is about 400 acres of undeveloped space at the base of Coral Mountain off Madison Avenue between Avenues 58 and 60.

The parcel would need to be rezoned from low-density residential to commercial/tourist, but residents say that's not what it was intended for.

"It was quiet, less traffic, and now this is all being threatened," Welton said.

Opposers to the project also say they're worried about water usage in the pool and the millions of gallons it would require – especially during an historic drought.

"They want to use 18 million gallons of our aquifer water that we need to drink with, to put in this pool," Wong said. "That's just to fill it."

Last month, the city published a drafted Environmental Impact Report. It says the residents' concerns have been accounted for.

The report said the project falls below Coachella Valley Water District's annual threshold for water usage.

Traffic intersections won't be majorly affected, according to the study.

And on noise, the report said the impacts will be "less than significant."

But still, the residents are not sold.

"We got to take a look at the Environmental Impact Report and it doesn't make any sense – it's unreadable," Welton said. "How can they have done a study on the noise if this is the largest wave pool in the U.S. and there's no such thing that exists yet?"

The proposal is now making its way toward city leaders for approval – but the surf park must first ride past the wave of backlash from residents.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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