Palm Springs Country Club in California
After the closure of Palm Springs Country Club in California in 2007, air quality problems arose due to a lack of maintenance on the course. Drought, combined with a lack of regular irrigation on the golf course, led to wind erosion, with sand continually dispersed into the surrounding neighbourhoods. Moreover, because the course was poorly supervised, problems of vandalism began, making the surrounding residential areas less safe. To counter these new problems and maximize the development potential of this stretch of land, a conversion project was submitted. The project, which obtained the city’s authorization, called for 386 housing units, the retention of 47% green space, the addition of a public park and recreational facilities, and a pathway to connect the neighbourhood to a regional footpath.
The City of Palm Springs identified some best practices for golf course redevelopment to ensure the execution of the best possible project.
According to the city, with this type of project, it’s essential to recognize the importance of golf courses as undeveloped green spaces. The impact of the potential loss of these areas on neighbouring residents must be taken into account, and opportunities must be identified to propose other options. When drafting planning documents and urban planning by-laws, this potential for redevelopment must be properly defined. Standards should be introduced to force reasoned redevelopment, such as the obligation to retain a certain percentage of green space or require payment for the loss of green space. Authorized uses must also be regulated, buffer zones added, mandatory green spaces identified, and authorized densities established.
These guidelines provide towns and cities with greater control over the redevelopment potential of these areas while at the same time ensuring that developers are aware of the rules so that they can come up with a project suited to the sites.
Involving and discussing the proposed project with the community is essential to ensure its support. These various phases make it possible to improve the first version of the project submitted based on the various comments received and thus obtain the best possible project.