Public vote on downtown Palm Springs hotel canceled

City strikes deal with critics to settle differences and move forward with key portion of downtown redevelopment project

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Palm Springs City Council voted Wednesday evening to cancel a special election set to decide the downtown revitilization project.

The change of heart followed a settlement with an advocacy group called, Advocates for Better Community Development.

The details of the agreement were not announced Wednesday.

The special election was set for April 22.

Palm Springs residents would have decided whether to move forward with plans to build the new Kimpton Hotel, a six story high rise building along Palm Canyon Drive.

The hotel is part of the downtown redevelopment, making over the long vacant Desert Fashion Plaza Mall.

Critics had called for a public election complaining the new development needed further review and would block scenic mountain views.

Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet had complained litigation by the citizen's group, headed by Frank Tysen, would have delayed the new development for months.

Pougnet even blamed Tysen by name for delays in the hotel project during his State of the City address January 16.   

The April election would have cost the city 80 thousand dollars.

Pougnet said, "We've got hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here.  It's not a pissing contest.  If he wants an election we are going to give home an election so we can move on."

That tone changed Wednesday after the city council meeting and a statement released by the city.

Pougnet said, "I want to thank Frank Tysen and those that were supporting this appeal for their decision to withdraw it."  "Frank has always had the best interest of our city at heart and has done more than his share to invest in our community."

According to the city's statement Tysen said, "I have always wanted nothing but tremendous success for our city and business community."  Tysen continued, "In order to avoid an acrimonious three months, we've decided to withdraw the appeal in the best interest of the community."

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