CALL TO ORDER:
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Roll Call: 6 members present, 0 members absent, 0 members excused.
REPORT OF CLOSED SESSION:
ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGENDA:
Motion to approve Accept the Agenda as presented. Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Mills, seconded by Councilmember Foat.
Vote to approve Accept the Agenda as presented. (Approved)
1. PUBLIC HEARING:
1.A. PROPOSED DRAFT SPECIFIC PLAN (GENERAL PLAN AND ZONING TEXT AMENDMENTS) FOR MUSEUM MARKET PLAZA TO ALLOW UP TO 955 HIGH-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL UNITS, UP TO 400,000 SQUARE FEET OF COMMERCIAL RETAIL AND OFFICE SPACE, AND UP TO 620 HOTEL ROOMS LOCATED AT THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF NORTH PALM CANYON DRIVE AND TAHQUITZ CANYON WAY, AND OTHER NEARBY PROPERTIES, CASE 5.1204:
Staff Report Item 1.A.
Mayor Pougnet presented an introduction and history of the Desert Fashion Plaza and the need for a specific plan, requested staff address the purpose of the specific plan, stated the action for the City Council decision does not entitle a project, but the initiation of the Specific Plan.
Craig Ewing, Director of Planning Services, provided background information as outlined in the staff report dated January 14, 2009.
Councilmember Foat requested staff clarify the staff recommendation for not removing Block L from the Specific Plan, requested staff explain any impact to the EIR based on the alternatives and changes being proposed, and to address the traffic report with respect to parking for Indian Canyon Drive.
Mayor Pougnet opened the public hearing, and the following speakers addressed the City Council.
EMILY HEMPHILL, Representing Wessman Development, stated Wessman Development submitted a letter withdrawing the decision, commented on the discrepancies between the Specific Plan and the Wessman Development Desert Fashion Plan Remodel Plan, requested the continuance for the consideration of the Specific Plan for 90-days for the City to review the Remodel Plan, commented on the Specific Plan and the alternatives in the EIR based on residential units which cannot support the project, stated the EIR does not reflect the timing delay and provides inaccurate timetables due to the current economic conditions, commented on Alternative A for the reservation of land for use as park space, commented on the change in the Specific Plan for use of the O’Donnell Golf Course, the arbitrary reduction of units, density and height, and reiterated the request to continue the Public Hearing for 90-days.
CHARLES CANTRELL, stated the City has an immediate need for a vibrant shopping experience in Downtown as soon as possible, and the need for other types of entertainment.
CHRIS LUHRS, stated Wessman Development should be provided the opportunity to present and move forward with his Remodel Plan.
VIC GAINER, stated the Specific Plan is a pipe dream and the City needs to get back to reality, and requested the City Council delay the plan for 90-days to consider the Remodel Plan.
KAREN TABBAH, stated she has been disappointed by the lack of activity on the Desert Fashion Plaza, and urged the City Council to fast track the new Remodel Plan.
MARSHALL ROATH, commented on the inclusion of Block L in the Plan, recommended the City not include Block L in the Specific Plan, stated his opposition to closing the street near and along the Museum, stated Amado should go through to Belardo, and stated the Town and County Center should be removed from the Plan.
SHERYL HAMLIN, stated the projects under the Specific Plan will probably not be built, stated the City does not need a Specific Plan as the City has the Downtown Urban Design Guidelines, the Specific Plan is flawed in many ways, and recommended the City Council abandon the Specific Plan.
PAULA AUBURN, stated the Specific Plan will narrow the future Development in the Downtown area, and the City needs a project that is unique and with scale-ability that enhances creativity with developers.
TODD LARSON, provided his vision of the Downtown and the use of the current buildings in the area, and stated the Remodel Plan can start in 6-months.
CLINTON GREENE, stated the City is not moving forward, and recommended that the City Council delay the adoption of the Specific Plan for 6-months.
JOY MEREDITH, requested the City Council postpone going forward with the Specific Plan for 6-months to review the Remodel Plan, and stated the General Plan and Downtown Urban Design Guidelines are sufficient.
G.P. GERBER, stated his support of the Wessman Remodel Plan, and the Specific Plan has not been effective.
RON MARSHALL, stated his support for the designation of the Town and Country Center as a Class 1 Historic Site.
LAURA WALSH, stated we have wonderful stores in the Downtown area, and requested the City Council delay the Specific Plan and review the Remodel Plan.
LEONARD SAGER, commented on the problems with developments retaining financing and capital to develop, stated his support to open Museum Drive through to the Museum.
DAVID CYR, stated his support for fast tracking the Wessman Remodel Plan.
BOB HELBLING, stated the City needs to move forward, but the City should not adopt a Specific Plan if it would hinder the Wessman Remodel Plan, requested the City Council delay the Specific Plan.
SHEILA CHRISTENSON, stated her support to delay the adoption of the Specific Plan to review the Remodel Plan.
FRANK TYSEN, commented on the Planning Commission recommendations and stated the recommendations should be drastically scaled down in terms of density and height, stated his support for a boutique hotel, and recommended the City move forward with the scaled down Specific Plan as it would not hinder the Remodel Plan.
CODY STOUGHTON, stated his support for the preservation of the Town and Country Center.
No further speakers coming forward, the public hearing was closed.
Councilmember Foat stated the City Council is not voting on any action tonight, commented on the previous City Council direction to create movement and action by Wessman Development toward the development of the Desert Fashion Plaza.
City Attorney Holland commented on issues by Wessman Development as to the inconsistency between the Specific Plan and the Remodel Plan, and stated the Specific Plan would not hinder any Remodel Plan.
Councilmember Hutcheson stated the Remodel Plan should be reviewed in a timely manner by the AAC and Planning Commission, stated his support for the Specific Plan for opportunities and alternatives for the Downtown area, and requested staff address the opportunity to modify the Specific Plan.
Mayor Pro Tem Mills commented on the numerous plans and changes to previous plans submitted by Wessman Development, commented on the expedient review and preparation of the Specific Plan by staff, the importance of the project as the central hub area of the City, and stated the Plan is for the future development of Downtown and not a plan or vision based on the current economic conditions and problems.
The City Council recessed at 7:47 p.m.
The City Council reconvened at 7:55 p.m.
Councilmember Weigel requested staff address how long, and the process from this point forward, to get Wessman through the process for the Remodel Plan, requested staff comment on the right to the entitlements for the Remodel Plan and for amendments to the current entitlements, requested staff address the hybrid Specific Plan as recommended by staff, the differences between the current Downtown Urban Design Guidelines, thanked Wessman Development for bringing something forward and challenged Wessman Development to bring forth a viable project to move forward.
Councilmember Hutcheson recommended the City Council refer comments to staff and the Downtown Subcommittee to compile comments and make further recommendations.
Mayor Pro Tem Mills requested Planning Staff, the City Attorney, and Wessman Development meet to determine the Remodel Plan objectives, requested the Remodel Plan be expedited through the process with the Subcommittees of the AAC, the Planning Commission and the City Council.
Motion to Direct staff and the City Council Downtown Subcommittee to consolidate City Council comments and compile further recommendations for the City Council. Moved by Councilmember Hutcheson, seconded by Councilmember Foat.
Vote to Direct staff and the City Council Downtown Subcommittee to consolidate City Council comments and compile further recommendations for the City Council. (Approved)
SHERYL HAMLIN, thanked the City Council for the support of the Opera in the Park event scheduled in April, 2009.
Councilmember Foat commented on the upcoming Dog Day Afternoon event at the Palm Springs Stadium.
Mayor Pougnet commented on the recent City of Palm Springs Juried Art Show at the Palm Springs Library.
CITY MANAGER’S REPORT:
Jan 14, 2009 City Council Meeting