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CITY RECEIVES PRE-APPLICATION ON 218 ACRE INDIAN COVE PARCEL
Close of escrow possible in May / June
29 Palms Community Development Director Travis Clark has confirmed the receipt of a pre-application for the development of a 218 acre parcel bordering Joshua Tree National Park in Indian Cove. The parcel, which is zoned RL5, has abundant native vegetation and is threatened species habitat. Potential development has raised concern from neighbors of the property.
The pre-application package, submitted on March 24 by Wilshire Group LLC represented by Joubin Sedgh includes a preliminary plan designed by Land Studio. The proposed development consists of 55 units with amenities including a restaurant and bar, a café, a gallery, indoor and outdoor art installations, specialty shops, a pool and a clubhouse. The proposed units are “Earthbag” homes constructed from coils of soil and resembling inverted cones. The complex would be accessed via an extension of Lear to Sullivan. The package includes a description of the site plan:
While each of our units will provide the occupants with a private desert experience, our layout will evolve around exclusively non-vehicular access for guests throughout the property, in order to allow us to leave as much of our site available for open space, trails, xeriscaping, desert restoration, with a keen focus on varieties of site specific and desert-relevant art installations…
According to Clark, “resort” and similar developments such as yoga retreats and meditation centers are allowable in rural living zoning. He pointed to the Southern California Vipassana Center (SCVC) as an example. However the SCVC is not located in a densely populated neighborhood and “resort” is not defined in the development code. In a November letter Sedgh listed “yoga retreat, healing practices, meditations” as potential activities yet these are not listed as activities in the pre-application received by the City.
We cannot sit back and allow them to destroy 218 acres of pristine wildlife habitat along with all the beautiful wild flowers that bloom during the spring. — Indian Cove Resident Jennifer Ruggiero
The pre-application materials were emailed to external agencies such as the 29 Palms Water District and the National Park for feedback on March 31. Replies are expected by the end of April. Triad Realty agent Grove Clark confirmed that the property is under a 6 month contract and anticipated the sale would close in May or June. However, it appears that close of escrow may be contingent on agency feedback. City representatives recommended that Sedgh reach out to Indian Cove residents but no communication with residents has been confirmed.
While the pre-application package has not been publicly released, some Indian Cove residents expressed concern about any development of the parcel on social media. Writes Jennifer Ruggiero on the Stop Glamping Insanity Now Facebook page, “We cannot sit back and allow them to destroy 218 acres of pristine wildlife habitat along with all the beautiful wild flowers that bloom during the spring.” Other residents feel a resort is preferable to 88 units of residential development, also a possibility given the zoning and current California regulations. Some point to the number of short term rentals already operating in Indian Cove and would request an immediate moratorium on additional short term rentals in the area should escrow close and the project move forward.
Are you concerned about a development or have tips on other news in your neighborhood? Write us at 29PalmsNeighbors@gmail.com.
Disclosure: The author lives in the vicinity of the proposed development.