LA QUINTA WAVE PARK
After two long years of debate and revisions by the Developer, and initial approval by the La Quinta Planning Commission, the La Quinta City Council cast thier final vote. On Wednesday, September 21, 2022 the Council voted to deny the controversial Coral Mountain Project known as the La Quinta Wave Park.
Public outcry from neighbors surrounding the project played an important role in the final outcome. Neighbors cited the impact from traffic, noise, lighting and most importantly, water usage while CA is in a severe drought and under water-use restrictions.
The City Council gave CM Development LLC, (developers for the La Quinta Wave Park project), an opportunity to address resident concerns; but when the developer presented them with a revised plan that included changes to the city’s general plan and zoning, the Council pushed back. Councilmembers, Robert Radi and Steve Sanchez objected. Radi said “I’m not going to design the project for the developer, the burden is on them….. It’s not the job of the council to do that for them. Sanchez said, “It’s a completely different project….the threshold is extremely high to convince me to do a general plan amendment…. It’s the consitution of our city and people rely on that.”
AMENDMENTS TO THE GENERAL PLAN AND ZONING
In May 2019 Meriwether Companies, teaming up with surfing legend, Kelly Slater and Michael B Schwab, son of the brokerage pioneer, Charles Schwab – under the name CM Wave Development, purchased 400 acres of mostly vacant land on the southwest corner of Avenue 58 and Madison Street, paying $29 million. They were seeking amendments to the General Plan and zoning, for the La Quinta Wave Park, to include Tourist Commercial, allowing for a hotel and other resort amenities including short-term rentals.
The developer’s plans for the Coral Mountain Resort included a 150-room hotel, 16.6-acre private-use wave pool with 18 million gallons of water and up to 600 residential units including custom homes.
Objections from surrounding La Quinta residents, proved to be more than the Developer could overcome. In an attempt to address concerns about 80′ light poles surrounding the La Quinta Wave Park – the Developer performed a one-hour after dark light demonstration in November 2021 using two lights mounted on 80′ booms. The opposition, didn’t budge from their position, saying they were only seeing 10% of what the final project would be and only addressed one of their concerns – not the water usage, noise or traffic issues.
The land is currently zoned for general commercial, which includes low-denisty residential and open-space recreation. The general plan approves a 750 home residential community with one 18-hole golf course and small retail center.
DEVELOPER MAKES CHANGES TO DESIGN PLAN
In the latest round of revisions, CM Development agreed to modify their plans for the La Quinta Wave Park. They changed the plans reducing it from 18.6 acres down to 12 acres, which effectively reduced the water surface by 50%. They also agreed to match the water district’s turf reduction rebate funds, offering $3 / sq ft, (projected to be a $3 million investment) which would offset demand from the wave pool. They lowered the light pole height down to 40 feet, and also reduced the height of the buildings down to 40 feet. They agreed to defer special events for two years and would donate 1,000 hours per year for non-profit fund raising and surf camps for local residents and committed funding for East Valley social programs.
THE FINAL VOTE
In the end, it wasn’t enough to change minds and was unanamously rejected by the City Council after a lengthy meeting packed with both opponents and supporters of the project.
John Gamlin, President of CM Wave Development for the La Quinta Wave Park, said they were dissapointed in the outcome, and had not yet decided what their next steps will be with the land.
The backdrop of the Coral Mountains are a stunning part of the Desert Landscape; homes in Andalusia and Trilogy enjoy the unique nature of the land sitting at the base of the the Coral Mo9untains.