A new housing project is coming to the Salton Sea area, promising to help Salton Sea restoration efforts while offering environmental stewardship to residents.
Travertine Point, a housing project covering Imperial and Riverside counties as well as Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian territory, was approved by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
This is a unique project, said county Planning Director Armando Villa. Travertine Point is the first massive planned community approved in the county in modern times, he said. He added that in the 1950s there were massive communities planned but they never materialized.
The project covers nearly 5,000 acres, most of them in Riverside County. Once fully built Travertine Point is expected to have 16,600 homes, schools and a golf course, to name a few. Build-out is expected to take several years.
But perhaps one of the most noteworthy aspects of the project is the developer’s intent to help Salton Sea restoration efforts.
“We believe restoration can and will happen and it must happen, and Travertine Point, we believe, will jump-start this effort with real money,” said Paul Quill, the project manager who spoke on behalf of the developer, Federated Insurance.
This “real money” would be channeled to the ailing sea by matching funds of up to $200,000 made to the Salton Sea Action Committee, a nonprofit group, said Quill.
The project, set to have about 40 pedestrian miles, 18 miles of bicycle lanes and onsite solar production, will gather flood water from the mountains, clean it and deliver it to the sea, developers say.
The project will also bring population and business attention to the region, Quill said to the board.
As far as fiscal impact, the project is likely to have a neutral impact to the county, but a positive economic impact overall, said county consultant Stephen Wahlstrom, who noted the project has a minimal downside risk to the county.
No opposition or opponents made comments during the public hearing. The Torres-Martinez tribe was reportedly supportive of the project, as were supervisors.
“I’m excited and pleased” to see Travertine developers set their vision to restore the Salton Sea, said Supervisor Michael Kelley.
Supervisor Ryan Kelley, who represents the county’s Northend, said he is “eager to see that type of development happening.” And after noting that Quill at some point referred to the project as a town, Ryan Kelley asked if Travertine Point could become incorporated in the future.
“At this time there is no intent to incorporate; that would be something that could happen in the future,” Quill said. He noted that, “The idea is that at some point in the future, once this town has a population significant to make that decision themselves, they might make that decision.”
“This is certainly a good project (for) the future,” said Supervisor Ray Castillo as he called for a motion. “With all the renewables that we have going (through) the Valley I could certainly see this community take off,” he said.
Staff Writer Alejandro Dávila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or email@example.com
Join the discussion and add your comments to this story! Scroll down or click here and tell us what you think.