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Disney community in Rancho Mirage: A look at first phase of ‘Cotino’

The Rancho Mirage Planning Commission will consider a tentative tract map of the first segment of the Disney-themed community Cotino at their meeting Thursday afternoon.

Public comment and testimony will be heard ahead of the discussion. Local residents, some of whom have voiced concerns about traffic or water usage may speak before the commission. Many others have shared excitement for the development.

Cotino, the first planned community from Storyliving by Disney, is described by developers as "a dynamic, creative oasis set within the stunning landscape of Palm Springs." The development plans to bring "Disney magic" to a new neighborhood in Rancho Mirage.

Those curious about the development are also getting a taste of the colorful, water-inspired names of the community's streets, including Azure Sea and Brilliance Avenues, Blue Oasis and Radiance Drives, Purple Iris and Tide Swell Ways, and Sea Holly Road.

From the filing with the planning commission, developers indicate that the planned lot sizes for homes range from 5,500 SFD to 18,000 SFD.

Alongside the private homes, there will be a hotel, entertainment, shopping, and dining. It's all planned to surround a 24 acre lagoon. There will even be a neighborhood specially designed for adults 55 and older.

Watch: Disney-themed community in Rancho Mirage breaks ground

Officials hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in April for Cotino. At that event, Rancho Mirage Mayor Charles Townsend called the development a "perfect fit for Rancho Mirage," saying it would be "an economic boost for Rancho Mirage" and the entire Coachella Valley.

During the ceremony, Disney officials announced that homes in Cotino will begin to sell in early 2023, with the first people being able to move in by 2024.

Brent Herrington who is part of DMB Development in charge of the project said the homes are expected to be mid-century modern themed, with a 'forward-looking' feeling.

Plans for Cotino were first announced in February.

Related Story: Disney-themed community coming to Rancho Mirage

A 'Specific Plan' for this project titled Section 31 can be found on the City of Rancho Mirage website. It dates back to 2019.

Filings for today's meeting provide some additional historical context, reading:

Section 31 consists of roughly one square mile of undeveloped land located centrally in the heart
of the Coachella Valley. In 1977, the site was sold by the Annenberg Estate to investors which
fractured sole ownership of the property into a 60/40 split. In 1993, The Eagle Specific Plan
(“The Eagle”) was adopted for the project site. The Eagle proposed a golf course community of
approximately 650 acres, which included associated residential, recreational, and commercial
uses within the project area. Due to financing challenges and bankruptcy of one of the property’s
former owners, Section 31 never developed, and The Eagle Specific Plan was never
implemented and eventually superseded as part of the 2005 General Plan Update. In 2017, the current owner, EC Rancho Mirage Holdings Limited Partnership, entered into a
contract to purchase Section 31 and began negotiations with the Annenberg Foundation Trust
to amend the Covenant Agreement originally executed in 1977. The Covenant Agreement was
amended in December of 2017 and was recorded on the property as the First Amended and
Restated Covenant Agreement (DOC #2018-0115512). In early 2018, the purchase of Section
31 was completed, and shortly thereafter, in May of 2018, an application for the Section 31
Specific Plan was submitted.
The Section 31 Specific Plan (“Specific Plan”) was adopted by ordinance by the City Council on
December 5, 2019, with the second reading of the ordinance occurring on December 19, 2019.
The Specific Plan allows the development of a mixed-use community including the following:
resort hotels, a mixed-use town center, residential neighborhoods, a private street system, and
recreational open space amenities.
The Specific Plan would enable the development of up to 175,000 square feet of combined
office, restaurant, and neighborhood commercial uses, a combined total of 1,932 residential
units and hotel-branded residential units, and up to 400 hotel keys. The Specific Plan
established four planning areas and three categories of land uses, including the Lagoon (LAG),
Mixed-Use Core (M-U CORE), and Residential (RES). The Planning Areas would include a
Town Center, along with three separate residential areas. The master plan is designed for
sequential construction in multiple phases, corresponding to the infrastructure and product
designs for individual Planning Areas and land use types.

Joy Tsai, Associate Planner in Staff Report to City of Rancho Mirage

So why did Disney choose Coachella Valley for their first Storyliving community? It's a place that Walt Disney himself called his "laughing place." He'd escape here to unwind and reignite his imagination.

Photos: Disney
Article Topic Follows: News

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