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Palm Desert City Council unanimously approves surf resort

The Palm Desert City Council unanimously voted to approve plans for "DSRT Surf," a manmade surfing development in the Desert Willow Golf Resort. 

City documents show that the project will be for nearly 18-acres inside Desert Willow. Phase one of the project will feature a four-story hotel, a wave pool machine, surf center and a surf lagoon along with bars, cabanas, restaurants a sand beach area, sports courts, a stage/amphitheater, among other amenities.

The second phase of the hotel will include 88 for-sale residential villas.

There are also plans for the resort to host up to 15 special events a year. Parking will be increased from 130 spots to 248.

Residents at the planning commission meeting in October voiced their concerns regarding the 80-foot sports lighting poles and buildings obstructing mountain views, as well as noise and light pollution. 

"It will just be a nightmare for us, candidly," one resident said.

The project is estimated to cost a total of $190.4 million, according to projections by Keyser Marston Associates.

KMA's feasibility report shows the project has a feasibility gap of $36.1 million. According to city documents, one of the proposed sources to bridge the gap will be $20 million of bond funds, set aside for this purpose, for the acquisition of public improvements.

City documents state that these funds were set aside for this particular purpose and will not impact the city's general fund. Other sources include a TOT rebate of $16.1 million (or 20 years, whichever is sooner) and $485K city land contribution. The three sources add up to $36.1 million.

KMA projection show that the project will generate nearly $30 million for the city over 20 years.

One of the biggest issues many residents have with the project is water conservation. The 5.5. acre-lagoon will require 24 million gallons each year.

"We live in the desert; we always have a drought here. If there's suddenly this much extra water to make this project feasible, I really have to question if this is the wisest use of that water," said David Middleton at the meeting.

Representatives for DSRT Surf said the surf pool's water usage will be "net-zero" because of its "Turf for Surf" program. By removing 1 million square feet of surrounding golf course turf not being used for play, the water saved means the surf pool won't need any additional water.

The resort is could open sometime in 2022.

News / News Headlines

Jesus Reyes

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