June 20, 2024

Palm Desert Planning Commission Approves Major Pulte Homes Development

By Bob Marra
Del Webb Explore Palm Desert site plan aerial image.

The Palm Desert Planning Commission has approved Pulte Homes’ development plans for 332 single-family homes on a 40.93-acre site within what has been referred to as the Refuge Specific Plan area. This major residential project is located on the south side of Gerald Ford Drive and west of Portola Road. Marriott’s Shadow Ridge timeshare and golf course community is located immediately to the west of the property. A long-standing residential area with hundreds of homes is located adjacent to the property to the east.

Project Overview

The approved Pulte Homes development is for a new community that will be branded as Del Webb Explore and include a wide range of home types. The development is part of the larger Refuge Specific Plan, which the Palm Desert City Council approved in 2022. This plan covers a 106.4-acre area and envisions 969 dwelling units, with detailed design and development standards set forth to guide the project. Find out more about the Refuge plan at https://www.refugepalmdesert.com/.

Key Features of the Development

The proposed residential development is situated within Planning Area 3 of the Refuge Specific Plan. It includes:

  • Housing Variety: The development features three series of home plans with 11 different floor plans in total. Each plan comes with three distinct architectural styles: Progressive Spanish, Midcentury, and Contemporary. Four different color schemes for each elevation further enhance this diversity, providing potential homeowners a wide array of choices.
  • Community Amenities: The project includes plans for a private clubhouse and pool, designed with contemporary architecture and featuring flat and sloped roofs. These amenities are intended to foster a sense of community and provide recreational opportunities for residents. Plans also call for walking paths throughout the plan area.

Architectural Review and Modifications

The Palm Desert Architectural Review Commission approved the project’s design review on April 23, 2024, with specific conditions to enhance the development’s aesthetic appeal. These conditions included extending the Contemporary mid-century roof elements to meet the roof’s main body and increasing the crushed rock’s size in dry stream beds to two inches or larger. Pulte Homes has since revised its plans to incorporate these changes.

Environmental Considerations

The City of Palm Desert’s Development Services Department determined that the project is consistent with a previously adopted Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Refuge Specific Plan. Consequently, no further environmental review is required. This determination ensures that the development adheres to environmental standards, minimizing its impact on the local ecosystem.

Next Steps

Final entitlement must come via approval by the Palm Desert City Council at a future meeting. There was little in the way of project opposition expressed by nearby residents during the Planning Commission meeting, so it seems likely the project will gain city council approval.

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