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New Town Travertine Point Proposed For Salton Sea Shores

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Developer Black Emerald LLC and the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians want to take about 4,900 acres of Riverside-Imperial County line-straddling, Salton Sea-adjacent, Coachella Valley land and turn it into a little town and vacation destination called Travertine Point. (The name comes from a rock outcropping on the southern side of the development.) TP would include a "Town District" with mixed uses, a resort area, a cultural preserve, and residential neighborhoods of assorted densities (but "predominantly single family," according to the Specific Plan submitted to Riverside County). The developers project a population of about 37,000 residents.

There are also plans for a marina with slips, retail, and restaurants, but that "assumes the successful restoration of the Salton Sea as presently proposed by the Salton Sea Authority." KCET thinks the development will make that restoration less likely, since the Sea gets replenished with agricultural runoff and TP's own water usage will divert water from agricultural uses. (And then there's the whole thing where when the Salton Sea recedes, it kicks up carcinogenic dust.)

KCET is also skeptical of the Travertine Point traffic plan, which relies heavily on the four-lane State Route 86S. From the Specific Plan: "The center of the Specific Plan area is accessed via a proposed grade-separated SR-86S interchange that conveys traffic into the core of the Specific Plan area, including the Town District. A system of arterials and collectors distribute vehicular traffic from the future interchange throughout the community. Roundabouts are proposed at key intersections to reduce congestion, reduce speed, improve air quality, and reduce the severity of accidents." The developers say they want to create a live-work community, but still estimate there'll be 200,000 new trips a day.

Right now the Travertine Point land, which is mostly in Riverside but leaks a bit into Imperial, belongs to Black Emerald, the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, and several other owners, and is being used for either agriculture, aquaculture, or nothing at all.
· When is Green Development Not Green? [KCET]
· Travertine Point [Riverside County Planning Department]