DAILY BRIEFING: November 23, 2021

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, November 23. Expect considerable clouds early, with some decrease in clouds later in the day. The high will be near 82 degrees. First, some news you need to know …

Rimrock neighbors get reassurances on Canyon View project; supply chain issues, holiday schedules hamper start

Additional work ordered by the city to identify protections for a rare beetle at the site of a proposed 80-unit housing project off East Palm Canyon Drive has been completed, a representative for the developer said Monday evening, but additional delays in the project are expected.

Speaking via video to board members of the Rimrock Neighborhood Organization, David Hardy, vice president of Encore Capital Management, said the developer is ready to break ground on the Canyon View project that was first approved in 2017. However, a related Riverside County project to control floodwater is delayed while contractors wait for supplies.

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Although the county’s planned flood control channel and associated pipes will not go through the housing project’s 13.5 acres at the southwest corner of East Palm Canyon Drive and Matthew Drive, the two projects will both impact the nearby neighborhoods, leading the city to ask that they coincide.

“Our schedule is kind of tied to theirs,” Hardy said. “The city asked us to use the county storm system that they’re building. But the pipe is backordered.”

Neighbors concerned with landscaping and other issues surrounding a proposed 80-home development along East Palm Canyon Drive had a chance to meet with the developer’s representative Monday evening.

Revised plans for project received unanimous Planning Commission approval in June, but not without further requirements to assure habitat vital to the endangered Casey’s June beetle would be protected. Those conditions had been requested by Oswit Land Trust, which argued that non-native landscaping planned for the project would endanger the beetle, which is found only in Palm Springs. The City Council voted a month later to allow the project to move forward, but not unanimously.

Among the conditions was a requirement to work with a city-hired biologist to identify changes to landscaping using materials that are indigenous to the area instead of materials commonly used in projects outside the Coachella Valley. As he showed meeting attendees revised landscaping plans Monday, Hardy said that work has now been completed.

“The street trees will be desert willow and blue palo verde,” he said. “The total tree count will be over 300. Along the retention basin will be smoke trees, palo verdes, and acacia. We’re really trying to replicate the desert environment.”

Carlene Hart, who heads the neighborhood group that shared concerns about the non-native landscaping, said afterward those concerns appear to have been addressed.

“I feel like with us speaking up we had several wins out of this,” Hart said. “We were going to be like Orange County, sticking out like a sore thumb, by not using desert landscaping. Looking at the design tonight, they’ve cleaned it up.”

Additional concerns from neighbors about speeding along Matthew Drive, which runs along the project’s south side, could also be eased, those in attendance learned Monday, with a planned three-way stop planned by the city.

Exactly when construction might begin on the homes is unknown. Hardy said he had hoped to get final sign-off for the landscaping plans from the Planning Commission and the city’s Architectural Review Committee next month, but that time is tight. Most city commissions and committees meet only once in December and already have full agendas.

“I was hoping we would start in the Spring of 2018,” Hardy joked. “But here we are today. Given that we’ve gone through the final [approval] for the project itself back in June, things are looking up that we can start sooner rather than later. I would hope for Spring of 2022.”


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BRIEFLY

Jarvis Crawford (top, center), the community center manager at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center, is one of three new board members for Desert X.

CRAWFORD JOINS BOARD: Jarvis Crawford, the community center manager at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center in Palm Springs, is one of three new board members for Desert X, a nonprofit organization that produces site-specific installations by acclaimed international artists every two years in the Coachella Valley. The organization, which has drawn a total audience of more than 1.25 million to its three previous exhibitions in the Coachella Valley and has received critical acclaim and worldwide attention, also announced the next dates for the event will be March 4 through May 7, 2023. READ THE COMPLETE STORY HERE.

BEST OF THE VALLEY: Our partners at The Coachella Valley Independent have released results of their annual Best of Coachella Valley reader poll, and multiple Palm Springs businesses took top honors in their categories. You can find all the readers’ pick winners here and the Independent’s staff picks here.

TREE LIGHTING, PARADE: The 29th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade will return to Palm Canyon Drive at 5:45 PM on Saturday, December 4, following a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade, which stands as the city’s signature holiday event and a much loved tradition, features spectacular twinkling floats, magnificent marching bands, huge Macy’s-style holiday balloons – and Santa Claus. Just one day prior to the parade, residents are also invited to bring the whole family and join Santa Claus and the Palm Springs City Council for the Official City of Palm Springs Holiday Tree Lighting at 5:15 PM at Frances Stevens Park, 500 North Palm Canyon Drive.

FREE WRAPPING: The Friends of the Palm Springs Library will be offering free gift wrapping, with some restrictions, at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library as part of Shop Small Saturday this weekend. The event will take place in the Cornelia White Community Room from 11 AM until 4PM on Saturday, November 27. It is being held in an effort to give back to the community and support the merchants during this holiday season.

PSIFF AWARD: Jennifer Hudson will be honored with the Chairman’s Award at the Palm Springs International Film Awards for her performance in “Respect,” festival organizers announced Monday. The award will be presented in person on January 6 at the Palm Springs Convention Center and will kick off the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which will run through January 17. Hudson is a two-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and an Emmy Award-winning producer. Hudson’s breakout role as Effie in the movie “Dreamgirls” won her a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA and an NAACP Image Award.


TODAY’S CALENDAR

MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center offers a laughter clinic, Tai Chi, and other classes and programs today, starting at 8 AM. The center is located at 480 South Sunrise Way. A complete list of today’s events can be found here.

SCHOOL BOARD: The regular meeting of the Palm Springs Unified School District Board of Education begins at 6 PM. The meeting is held at the District Administration Center Board Room, 150 District Center Drive, in Palm Springs. A complete agenda is available here.

NOMINATIONS OPEN: The Palm Springs Human Rights Commission continues to accept nominations today for its annual Community Service Awards that recognize individuals and organizations for “Promoting Universal Human Rights Close to Home.” Information about how to nominate a person or organization can be found here. The deadline for submitting nominations is Wednesday, December 1.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

USO GALA: The Bob Hope USO-Palm Springs, in partnership with The Management Trust, will present the 8th Annual Spirit of Hope Gala on Friday, December 3. The gala supports military service members and serves as a benefit for Palm Springs area programs and services. The event will be held at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage with musical performances by the USO Show Troupe and keynote remarks by Colonel David A. Suggs, Chief of Staff at Twentynine Palms, as well as 30 service members who will be in attendance to enjoy the evening. More information about Bob Hope USO-Palm Springs can be found at bobhope.uso.org. To purchase tickets to The Spirit of Hope Gala, visit this link.

BENEFIT RUNS: Registration for the city’s annual Wild Turkey Trot 5K is open now at runpalmsprings.com, as well as active.com and racewire.com. The event is held Thursday at 8 AM, and offers entrants a chance to get in some exercise before Thanksgiving dinner. It starts at 100 North Palm Canyon Drive. Registrants for the event receive a T-shirt, a medal, and more. The run benefits local charities. Questions? Feel free to contact Molly Thorpe, the race director, at 760-413-6508. Another Thanksgiving Day run, which benefits Martha’s Village and Kitchen, is being held virtually this year. More information on that event, sponsored by Fortem Financial, can be found here

ART CENTER EVENTS: Black Friday shoppers are being encouraged to shop local and shop small business this Friday at the Desert Art Center, where they can find the largest display of local fine art in the Coachella Valley from 10 AM until 7:30 PM. DAC is located at 550 North Palm Canyon Drive in uptown Palm Springs. Another event — Deck the Walls — is planned on December 3, when a new Winter show will open in the main gallery. That event is form 5 PM until 7 PM.

DESERT JAM: The annual benefit for Palm Springs-based Well in the Desert — Desert Jam 2021: Jammin’ for the Well — is slated for Monday, December 6 at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino ballroom in Rancho Mirage at 6 PM. All proceeds benefit The Well’s work to feed and provide for those experiencing homelessness in our community. More information, including how to purchase tickets for the event can be found here or by calling 760-285-7297.

POLICE AND FIRE EVENT: The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce is taking reservations for its annual Police & Fire Appreciation Luncheon, held Tuesday, December 7, from 11:30 AM until 1 PM at the Palm Springs Convention Center. More information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities is available here.

STRUT AWARDS VOTING: Voting has started for the STRUT Awards, slated to be handed out next month in Palm Springs. The STRUT Awards are a people’s choice voting event designed to honor members of the local LGBTQ+ industry. Nominations were accepted in more than two dozen categories, and now it’s time to vote. You can do that by going here. Winners will be announced and celebrated on December 12 during an event at Margaritaville Palm Springs beginning at 6 PM. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

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