Possible warehouse development near Whitewater subject of review this week

Development of a 1.4-million-square-foot warehouse fulfillment center on the far north edge of Palm Springs near Whitewater will take a necessary step this week when the city Planning Commission provides input on the project during its regular study session.

Rendering from Transwestern Development Company
Developers are considering applying to construct a 1.4-million-square-foot transfer facility on 148 acres of desert land near Whitewater. The project would require a zoning change from the city and may encroach on land deemed critical

Transwestern Development Company has asked for preliminary review from the Commission about not only the project, but also a zoning change and the merger of two parcels needed to move the project forward. As currently designed, the project would include 20,000-square-feet of office space, 1,500 parking spaces, more than 1,000 trailer stalls and 276 loading dock spaces on 148 acres just north of the Highway 62 interchange. The company did not specify which business or businesses might use the facility.

The land is currently zoned highway commercial, allowing for a project such as a truck stop. Warehouses are not permitted.

What specific development should be allowed on the property is of lesser concern to at least one local environmental group. The leader of that group, Oswit Land Trust, would prefer nothing be approved, pointing out that the property is near  desert land deemed critical habitat. Three parcels adjacent to the west of the property are owned by Friends of the Desert Mountains, another group seeking to preserve and promote undisturbed land in the Coachella Valley.

“This proposed plan is not permitted under this designation, is detrimental due to its size and location (right next to critical habitat) … and should be stopped before the plans go any further,” wrote Jane Garrison, who heads an organization that recently fought to stop development of Oswit Canyon in South Palm Springs, in a Facebook post.

Others posting on social media said the chance for new jobs created by the completed projected is a hopeful sign.

“It is so rare to (hear) about a large employer wanting to come this way,” said city resident Neil Wortman in a post dated Feb. 19. “I hope it happens.”

A memo on the project prepared by city staff notes only that, “proposed parking seems to be excessive and create expansive concrete surfaces around the development.”

Wednesday’s meeting will not result in any formal decisions. The developers would still need to submit a formal application before it would be considered by the city and moved through formal review.

TUNE IN: View the Planning Commission meeting live at the City’s website, on YouTube, or Channel 17 (Spectrum) Wednesday at 4 PM


PARKS & REC MEETING: The city’s Parks and Recreation Committee meets tonight at 5:30 PM. Among other items, Committee member plan to discuss turf options at the city dog park and fitness equipment at city parks.  The complete agenda can be found here as well as call-in information.

CORONAVIRUS: A vaccine clinic continues at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, from 8 AM-5 PM today through Friday. You must be eligible and make an appointment first. Appointments can be reserved online at www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. The Convention Center is just one of several places vaccines are available. Find community providers such as pharmacies here.

UPCOMING: The Palm Springs Black History Committee is hosting a “Caravan Thru African American History” Saturday, Feb. 27 at 10 AM. The caravan kicks off at United Methodist Church of Palm Springs, 1555 E. Alejo Road. To register, visit this site.

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