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La Quinta surf resort developer tests impact of 80-feet high light poles

The developer of a proposed surf park in La Quinta tried to win over the support of neighbors concerned about the impact of lighting on surrounding communities.

Beams of light poured down from above Wednesday night onto the proposed site of Coral Mountain Resort, the massive billion dollar surf project that's facing a wave of backlash from its neighbors.

Coral Mountain Development put on a light show of sorts, a test meant to represent what 80-foot light poles above the 18 million gallon wave basin would look like.

"We're not here to prove anything other than we're a good neighbor," said John Gamlin, president of the development company.

Gamlin said the luxury private resort won't be as disruptive to nearby residents as they think.

His team set up the test with just two of the 17 proposed lights suspended in the air – one closest to a nearby residential property, the other adjacent to the base of Coral Mountain.

Once the lights came on for the hour-long after dark demonstration, some residents weren't yet convinced.

"We're only seeing 10 percent of the lights," Kathy Weiss said. "Even on a full moon night like tonight, it's an amazing, unnatural effect."

"We're always going to see glare like you see there," Alena Callimanis said. "They said that wouldn't exist. Now add in 15 more lights surrounding this wave basin; the glare will be incredible."

Gamlin said the "certified dark skies compliant" lights use special technology to ensure no light spills over to undesired areas.

"These are downward directed; they're hooded; they have cutoff lines on the ground where you can see light and darkness in a crisp line," he said. "It's actually quite amazing."

And despite the good faith demonstration, some opposed to the project remained resolute in their stance.

"Is there anything the developer could tell you that would change your mind on this," News Channel 3's Jake Ingrassia asked.

"No, sorry, no," Weiss said.

Residents say the demonstration only accounted for their light objections – not to mention noise, traffic or water usage.

The project still has to go before the planning commission before it can move forward. Developers said they're hopeful that happens before the end of the year.

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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