The Salton Sea smells like tilapia even from the shore and, in a few years, it will stop getting new water infusions from agricultural runoff, but developer Federated Insurance is as hot as ever on building a brand new 40,000-person city on its shores. The New York Times checks in on the Travertine Point project, which has already been approved--it's working through a lawsuit now brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club. Plans call for 16,000 housing units (mostly single family) and about five million square feet of commercial space, along with parks, a marina, and a resort area. The developers say they won't be breaking ground "for at least three years," no matter what happens, and that "it will be decades before the plans are completed." So get ready to take your self-flying car to a relaxing vacation at the Salton Dustbowl in 2050.
About that dustbowl thing: "Under a water transfer agreement approved by the state, water from nearby agricultural developments will stop flowing in by 2018, which means the shores, which now shrink about seven inches a year, will recede more quickly and dust levels in the area will rapidly increase." The Salton Sea Authority has proposed a restoration and local who is managing the Travertine Point project "is starting a business group to raise money for the restoration of the area." Still, he says Travertine Point will be built even if the Salton Sea dwindles to just a salty, fishy puddle. Meanwhile, he "argues that this is the most sustainable project that has ever been built in the area."
· For Desolate, Shrinking Salton Sea, Another Dream [NYT]
· New Town Travertine Point Proposed For Salton Sea Shores [Curbed LA]