The continued battle over a hillside driveway was continued again Wednesday evening.
Driving the news: The Palm Springs Planning Commission was expected to consider a proposal by a well-known developer to repair and extend a driveway on a South Palm Springs hillside that is a habitat for Bighorn Sheep. But instead, it continued the deliberation to “a date uncertain.”
- The move delays a showdown with advocates for the sheep, who had put out a call to flood the commission with comments.
Looking back: The issue was brought to the commission a year ago by the owner of the land, John Wessman, represented by Grit Development. He is seeking to grade and construct a 730-foot driveway which would extend South Camino Monte Road to make access to future hillside homes easier.
- The roughly 18 acres that contain the roadway were plotted for three homes in 1969 but never developed.
Context: Wessman is one of two developers accused in a bribery case involving former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet. He was indicted in 2019 but had charges dropped in 2020. They were reinstated last year.
At stake: The property is adjacent to a conservation area. A consultant hired by the developer recommended several mitigation efforts to protect Bighorn Sheep, including a temporary fence during construction and a worker environmental awareness program, among other recommendations.
- A city-hired consultant recommended the proposal be approved by the commission.
What they’re saying: Even though the item was pulled from the agenda, the commission still allowed public comment on the topic. Two residents spoke in opposition.
- Candace Khan expressed worries that the road and future developments would “Push wild animals away from that area. I don’t think we want to lose our Bighorn Sheep.”