Palm Springs, CA
The Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians heard what the public had to say Tuesday about their plans to expand the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs.
"It was an opportunity for the public to be introduced to our master plan and to provide their comments to our Indian Planning Commission," said Margaret Park, director of planning and natural resources for the Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians.
The Vision Agua Caliente Master Plan addresses 18 acres of tribal trust land. The plan would allow for the expansion of the Spa Resort Casino by up to 68,000 square feet, the development and replacement of up to 350 hotel rooms and parking for 650 cars.
"They only had about ten people who got up and they had a two minute limit to speak and to ask questions and they were very nice about responding," said Palm Springs resident Sheri Diamond.
The majority of public comments though revolved around the potential for a 175 foot hotel tower, something almost every speaker opposed.
"A 175 foot hotel would destroy Palm Springs forever. I mean the whole essence of this town has been low rise," said Frank Tysen, Co-owner of Casa Cody Bed and Breakfast.
One man at the meeting said he would support the plan on the condition The Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians use local builders to promote job growth in the desert. Others have argued the development could boost tourism to Palm Springs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue.
The majority of speakers though expressed their concern over placing a hotel of that size in a city that is known for its "low lines" and mid-century contemporary architecture.
"I am personally not in favor of it," Diamond said.
While Palm Springs tourism may see an uptick from the development, some say the expansion could have other consequences.
"It’s changing for the benefit of the tourists and the people who come here. So that might help some of the store owners or business owners but those of us who are actually full time residents, I don’t see how that’s benefiting us," said Diamond.