In association with Raimi + Associates (R+A), Sargent Town Planning was retained by the City of Palm Desert to update their General (Comprehensive) Plan and prepare a new vision, plan, zoning and design guidelines for the Highway 111 Corridor. Additional priorities included vision plans for new mixed-use neighborhood types around expanding college and university campuses, and for potential adaptive reuse of golf courses that may become unviable in the future.
The town’s existing downtown district is concentrated along a single street - El Paseo - which is a very high quality, walkable retail street with a remarkable collection of high-end retail shops. Highway 111 - the historic Grapefruit Highway connecting Los Angeles and Phoenix - is a ragged, auto-dominated strip that cuts the El Paseo town center off from the rest of town. A top-level community priority was to transform that corridor and expand the high quality town center environment northward along San Pablo Avenue to their Civic Center district.
R&A led the General Plan Update, with STP defining and illustrating new land use and urban form desigations for the Plan. STP completed existing conditions and urban pattern analysis, prepared design concepts and alternatives for 111 Corridor, led community workshops in which a prefered alternative was agreed upon, and worked with the Steering Committee refine and complete the 111 Corridor/City Center Plan as a chapter of the General Plan. STP also prepared new form-based zones to implement a new network of complete streets and mixed-use infill development.
The Committee and community enthusiastically received the team’s recommendations for the 111 Corridor and City Center District streetscape transformations, and the Plan was adopted by unanimous vote of the City Council in December 2016. In September 2017 the California Chapter of the American Planning Association recognized the Plan with a Merit Award for a Comprehensive Plan for a Small Jurisdiction.