We are very fortunate; Palm Desert is one of the best managed cities in the Coachella Valley. We are blessed with capable leadership, and a highly talented and dedicated staff.
I am passionate about our city, and I want to continue to ensure that our current quality of life is maintained, and hopefully enhanced, well into the future.
LIST OF ISSUES
We are working aggressively to create market rate housing that is affordable. The best way to do that is what we have already done. We modified our General Plan and the related zoning ordinances to make it financially feasible for our development community to build housing that is affordable and attractive. This includes modifications to lot sizes, building heights, setbacks and density. The best way to meet the growing need for affordable housing is to continue to work with, not against, our development community. By understanding their needs, we can create an environment that encourages and facilitates the creation of more affordable housing. And it works. Currently, Blackrock Investments is processing approval for 1,100 residential units in the University Park area that includes apartments, condos, and single-family residences on lots as small as 3,500 square feet.
Future of Palm Desert Retail
We are now in the implementation stage of creating our downtown city core, which will include a complete redesign and repurposing of San Pablo Avenue. We engaged Gibbs Planning to prepare a study of El Paseo, and are in the process of finalizing a design that will be a complete makeover of El Paseo; one that will make it much more of a go-to, event type space. We recently approved a contract with Buxton Consulting, which will provide the City with the tools it needs to attract, and just as importantly, to retain desirable retailers. I recently attended this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) annual convention, where we met with key retailers, including the owners of the Westfield Shopping Center. We are working with the owners to have the mall upgraded and modernized so that it meets the evolving demands of today’s consumers.
Homelessness is an important issue in our country and in Palm Desert. I am honored to chair the Coachella Valley Association of Governments' Homelessness Committee. We are making excellent progress by adopting a regional, holistic approach that utilizes the Housing First model. This approach is already proving successful in the Coachella Valley. Palm Desert is going a step further. We are in the process of hiring two Behavioral Resource Officers, who will conduct outreach to the City’s homeless population.
I support undergrounding all utility lines in the city of Palm Desert. In fact, that effort has been underway for several years. Staff is currently working on developing the implementation plan. The greatest challenge in undergrounding utility lines is the cost. It is massive. But there are options. One option is to create a neighborhood assessment district. This has been done successfully in the city several times and there is one currently underway. But it is a long and laborious process. Part of the implementation plan is to make that process easier, faster, and more effective.