A small group of residents in Palm Springs is asking city hall to halt the development of a 200-room hotel proposed near the Palm Springs Convention Center until additional studies can examine the building’s height, traffic levels and parking.
The Dolce Palm Springs, a 200-room hotel planned on 10.7 acres next door to the Palm Springs Convention Center would sit just to the west of the Center Court condominium complex, a 20-unit low-rise development built in the late 1970s. In addition to the five story hotel, the Dolce development would also construct 50 residential units and a parking structure on the site.
Residents argue the 56-foot maximum height of the hotel would block their view of the mountains and construct sunlight, according to documentation submitted to the city’s planning department. Center Court will hold a community meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to discuss the project.
“We would like the to request the City Council POSTPONE their public hearing and any further decisions on this matter until further studies can be performed and presented in a study session,” wrote David Powell, a resident, in a letter to the Palm Springs City Council and the department of Planning Services.
Complicating the public review process — which required the project to move through several channels such as the Palm Springs Architectural Advisory Committee and the Palm Springs Planning Commission — is residents claim they were not given proper notice.
California law requires that residents within 400 feet of the proposed development site be notified of public meetings where the project will be discussed. Powell said neither he, nor anyone else in the Center Court complex received notice.
It’s the developer’s responsibility to provide the list of residents needing notification while the meeting notices are sent by the city, said Margo Wheeler, director of Planning Services.
“The applicants are required to submit the labels, and the addresses are from the county assessors office. And we have do their title insurance company’s affidavit that that’s what they did,” Wheeler said.
The Dolce project was originally approved in 2007 as a Mondrain Hotel project. The Dolce came forward with a smaller number of residential units, and a repositioned hotel structure that’s also shorter in height. However, the project is still in keeping with the intent of the original plan, planning officials wrote in the project’s staff report. The Dolce was approved by the planning commission in June.
Palm Springs tourism leaders have often said the city lacks high-quality convention-grade hotel rooms in downtown, within close distance to the convention center, making the Dolce a welcome project. However, hotel projects in Palm Springs have at times met controversy, generally related to height or overall scale in relation to surrounding structures.
A seven-story Kimpton brand hotel planned for downtown has generated criticism for its height. There are three pending lawsuits — two against the city that allege the Palm Springs City Council violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it approved the project. The third was filed against Palm Springs and Wessman Development Co. for not asking voters to weigh in on the height after enough valid signatures were gathered to do so.
In October last year the planning commission rejected plans for a five-story hotel project on North Palm Canyon Dive in the Uptown Design District. The project was criticized for being too massive and out of scale with the neighborhood by both the Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board and the city’s Architectural Advisory Committee.