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La Quinta surf resort proposes smaller wave basin, other changes

The developer for a proposed La Quinta surf resort is announcing changes he hopes will win opponents over.

The controversial Coral Mountain Resort has been at the center of hours of public debate and concern from the community.

"Through the public process, we've listened, we've heard from the public," said John Gamlin, president of CM Wave Development.

Hundreds of the project's would-be neighbors have loudly objected to the resort because of concerns about traffic, noise, lighting, and perhaps most importantly: water.

Water concerns

Tuesday Gamlin said revisions to plans would reduce the size of the 18-million-gallon wave basin.

"It went from 18.6 acres to 12 acres, so we've effectively reduced the water surface area by 50 percent," he said.

Gamlin added the billion dollar surf project will match to water district turf reduction rebate funds, offering $3 per square foot to offset demand from the wave pool.

Gamlin said, "bolstered by the success of public conservation efforts being conducted by the Coachella Valley Water District and others, we are actually launching a program where we are going to contribute to matching funds to match the turf reduction rebates of the water district is giving at a rate of $3 per square foot. We've calculated what the annual evaporation rate of the wave basin is, and we're going to offset that by more than 100 percent in conservation in the community... It's over $3 million of a commitment."

Gamlin tells News Channel 3 they've opened conversations with city leaders and Coachella Valley Water District but the exact plans are not yet set. He says whether an agreement could be with the city or "with the water district or there’s some other conservation-oriented third party, that’s to be worked out."

A Coachella Valley Water District spokesperson, Lorraine Garcia, tells News Channel 3 in an email that "CVWD is solely seeking rebate partnerships with cities and applying for state and federal grants. Any agreement to accept external funding would be presented to the CVWD Board during a public meeting." Garcia said there is "no agreement for the project to provide CVWD with funds for turf replacement rebates."

Lighting concerns

Neighbors from nearby private golf communities are also worried about proposed 80-foot light poles.

A demonstration last November tested the impact of special dark skies compliant lights.

Gamlin said the project will now cut the pole height in half. "It's 40 feet. It's half what was proposed, and it's below the line of sight," he said.

Additional concerns

Other changes include:

  • Reducing the height of buildings from 45 feet to 40 feet
  • Deferring special events for two years
  • Donating 1,000 surf hours per year for non-profit fundraising and surf camps for residents
  • Committing funding for east valley social programs.

"There are some people who, no matter what we do, they're not going to be satisfied with the project here, and we understand that," Gamlin said. "I think, beyond a doubt, we've addressed the objections people have to the project."

In a statement to News Channel 3, a representative from La Quinta Residents for Responsible Development (LQRRD) wrote: "LQRRD respectfully will decline to comment until we have seen in writing the formal revision proposal and have had a chance to review with our legal counsel. We continue to object to other aspects of this Plan that include detrimental changes to the City’s General Plan."

Coral Mountain Resort is expected to be considered at the September 21 La Quinta city council meeting.

If approved, the project is expected to take 10 to 12 years to construct.

Editor's note: Since the original airing of this report, additional details regarding the plans for water conservation and perspective from CVWD have been added to this article.

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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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