Five Story Buildings in El Paseo Among Redevelopment Proposals

Five Story Buildings in El Paseo Among Redevelopment Proposals

Max Rodriguez

The City of Palm Desert is ready to break ground on a long and anticipated project but residents are now way over a whole new proposal that would change the view of El Paseo.

The traffic on San Pablo Ave. will not flow the same way within approximately ten months according to the city’s public works director, Tom Garcia.

Garcia said, “It includes a roundabout in San Gorgonio and the goal of the project is to make it less of a vehicle corridor and more of a pedestrian bike corridor. “

The project will make it easier to close down San Pablo Ave. for public events by narrowing the road, reconfiguring parking, and adding more crosswalks.

Garcia said, “Something that draws people to them, we want to provide a welcoming experience not only for the residents but for the businesses.”

But a couple of streets over there is a new idea brewing with mixed reviews, to amend the city’s zoning map to allow five-story buildings in select areas of El Paseo.

Susan Stauber is the owner of Grayse in El Paseo, she is feeling different emotions over the idea.

“Definitely five stories, you wouldn’t see it, I mean you create a valley,” Stauber said. “People from LA and Orange County come out and enjoy, relax and get a different view, you know our mountains are amazing.”

She voices similar concerns as many other business owners and residents of the area.

Stauber said she could get behind allowing four-story buildings on the West of El Paseo. She also would like the developments to provide more lodging and residential spaces in order to increase foot-traffic around her store.

She believes there is room for compromise between residents and the city.

Stauber said, “We want more people coming to El Paseo, but at the same time we do want to ensure that the beauty of the street is maintained.”

The proposal was sent back to city staff by the Palm Desert Council for revisions and future discussions. Meanwhile, the San Pablo Avenue project breaks ground May 1.