Ask The Desert Sun: CV Link, Who's paying to water the future Storyliving by Disney land?

Staff Report
Palm Springs Desert Sun

Q: Who pays for all the water being taken from the fire hydrant that has been watering the Disney Cotino property nonstop now for weeks?

— G. Farmer

A: Watering is used as a dust control measure in advance of grading. The water district places a monitor on the hydrant and bills the property owner accordingly, city spokesman Gabe Codding said.

The property owner, however, is not Disney, but DMB Development out of Scottsdale, Arizona, which bought the 618 acres of vacant land about five years ago. 

The land, bordered by Monterey Avenue and Bob Hope Drive on the east and west, and Gerald Ford and Frank Sinatra drives on the north and south, was once part of the Annenberg Estate.

Currently known as Section 31, a specific plan for the project was approved by the City Council in 2019, along with an environmental impact report.

Storyliving by Disney is in line with the specific plan, which calls for 1,700 homes, 400 hotel rooms, some commercial and retail buildings and restaurants, and a 24-acre swimmable lagoon that will be open to the public but also offer private amenities for homeowners who opt to be club members.

A rendering of Cotino, the first "Storyliving By Disney" community planned for the Section 31 development in Rancho Mirage, CA. The 618-acre mixed-use project is being developed by DMB Development LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, on vacant land once a part of the Annenberg Estate.

Cotino will include a mix of home types, including estates, single-family homes and condominiums. It will also include a community for residents 55 and older. All homes are planned for full-time residence.

Home price ranges have not been announced, but will be market rate.

Grading of the property could take up to eight months, Mayor Ted Weill has said, with building expected to begin in about a year to 18 months.

While the specific plan for the land has been approved, Cotino must still go through an application and approval process just as any other development project.

That means the project must face the Architectural Review Board, Planning Commission and ultimately the City Council for approval, with opportunities for public input at each of those steps, officials said.

— Sherry Barkas, mid-valley reporter

Q: Where are Dear Abby and the old Doonesbury comics?
— Patricia Bowers and Nicholas Hermsen

A: There have been a few changes to our print paper since we've gone digital-only on Saturdays (a full designed version of the paper is available via e-edition, but no longer in print). However, we're still offering Doonesbury on the comics page, and Dear Abby can still be found farther back in the paper. The specific location of Dear Abby will change depending on the size of each issue. For example, Dear Abby was found on page C7 for Thursday's paper. 

— Julie Makinen, executive editor

George Frank of Palm Springs rides along the CV Link near Ramon Road in Cathedral City, Calif., on October 20, 2020. "Since March 16th, I'm been riding every single day, " Frank said. According to his calculations he's ridden 3500 miles since then.

Q: The CV Link in Palm Desert is painted with many different colors. What is the meaning of each color?

— Jim Walters

A: Erica Felci, assistant executive director of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, said in an email to The Desert Sun that the colors found on the CV Link in Palm Desert are the same found throughout the valley, and they play an important role in trail navigation.

The colors are part of the CV Link wayfinding system, with orange color accents marking westward and blue color accents marking eastward towards the Salton Sea. Felci noted that the orange color is “a nod to the sunsets.”

CVAG leads the development of CV Link because being able “to address safety concerns and connecting to schools like Palm Desert High was a key part of the planning, design and now construction of CV Link,” Felci added. 

The progress of CV Link construction is updated on the CVAG social media pages and website, giving the public the chance to provide CVAG with feedback. People can also get involved through separate nonprofit organizations, such as the Friends of CV Link.

— Laine Henry, intern

A sidewalk is being built on East Palm Canyon Drive near Sunrise Way in Palm Springs. It's among safety improvements taking place to benefit pedestrians and bicyclists.

Q: Does the City of Palm Springs have any strategic plan to connect sidewalks for pedestrian safety along busier streets? And does the power company have plans to bury remaining overheads (particularly in Movie Colony East)?

— Bruce Wilson 

Sidewalks 

In December, the city adopted a pedestrian safety plan that proposes construction of new sidewalks and other pedestrian-oriented improvements in several areas where there are safety issues or high pedestrian traffic. The plan contains a list of 37 priority infrastructure projects, which are broken down by city council district. 

The listed projects include constructing new sidewalks on the east side of Palm Canyon Drive between Gateway Drive and San Rafael Drive, the south side of Vista Chino between Indian Canyon Drive and Sunrise Way, and where gaps are present from Ramon Road to Riverside Drive. In total, 12 of the 37 listed priority projects would involve constructing sidewalks where they don't exist presently. However, Sunrise Avenue between Amado Road and Alejo Road (which the reader mentioned in his email) is not listed as one of the priority projects. 

The plan is meant to provide recommendations and strategies for how the city can improve pedestrian access and safety in Palm Springs. However, it does not include a specific timeline for when the improvements must occur because the city has not secured funding for the projects. The plan does contain suggestions about how the city can secure funding from state and other sources to fund the projects. 

Power lines are seen behind Maggie Rodriguez’s home in Indio, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.

Power lines

Southern California Edison does not have any current initiatives or plans to bury existing overhead powerlines, spokesperson Jeff Monford said. 

Monford said Edison staff looked into the power lines in Movie Colony East specifically in response to this query, and determined that some property owners likely joined together to pay to have Southern California Edison underground the powerlines in their area sometime in the past. 

"They would have ability of work with SCE to determine the scope and pay for that section of line to be underground," Monford said. "This is why they are seeing some sections undergrounded and some have remained overhead."

Monford also added that most of the Native American tribes in the Coachella Valley undergrounded their utilities years ago. 

"As a rule of thumb, look around a neighborhood and if you don't see overhead lines that means you are on tribal land and if you do see them you are on fee land that is subject to municipal taxes," he said.  

However, Movie Colony East is not on tribal land, Monford said. 

— Paul Albani-Burgio, Palm Springs reporter 

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