Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Panel OK's EdenRock over local opposition

About 150 PGA West homeowners packed into La Quinta City Hall chambers Tuesday night to voice their concerns about the Eden Rock residential project, up for Planning Commission review.
In a session that stretched past 10 p.m., the commission ultimately voted 3-1 to recommend Eden Rock for La Quinta City Council approval.
Commissioners Ed Alderson, Paul Quill and Robert Wilkinson voted in favor, while Commissioner Katie Barrows dissented. She said Eden Rock's design should better blend into the surrounding community. Commissioner Jim Engle was absent.
"We really need to keep the look and the ambience of PGA West, which is single-family homes," said Christina Deniel, a resident of the upscale golf community who also heads the city's Investment Advisory Board.
Developer Pacific Santa Fe Corp. would build the 42-acre, 292-unit project in the center of PGA West, on the golf community's last significant developable area.
Some residents told the commission they fear Eden Rock's Tuscan design and higher densities would clash with the existing PGA West homes, and that it would attract short-term renters who would use PGA West's pools, golf courses, tennis courts and other amenities without paying club dues.
"We don't want the short-term rentals. We don't have them now," PGA West homeowner Vicki Merchant said.
La Quinta City Attorney Kathy Jenson said the city's agreement with Eden Rock developer Pacific Santa Fe Corp. does not limit the project to a minimum stay for renters.
"Many times a community is concerned about a project built near them. We understand that," said Gil Martinez, an Eden Rock spokesman. "Our objective is to preserve the character of PGA West through responsible planning."
When Commissioner Quill asked one resident if he knew the Eden Rock site was originally zoned for a 1,000-room hotel, many in the room shouted back, "Yes!"
Some said they'd rather see a hotel built because its amenities and management would keep visitors contained to the Eden Rock site.
A consortium of concerned residents said they'd accept Eden Rock if its proposed eight condominium buildings, each with 16 units, were replaced with more of the project's less-dense "courtyard" home units. They'd also like the developer to agree to a 30-day minimum deal.
"We have made numerous suggestions to the developer about what we'd like to see there," said resident James Cox. "We were led to believe there was going to be some honest pencil-pushing ? apparently that consideration did not pencil out. We're kind of at loggerheads."