Project Description

The Altum Group provided entitlement, preliminary design and project management services for this previously entitled 656-acre master-planned residential community in north Indio. Services included planning, environmental, civil engineering, flood control/drainage, and land surveying. Altum prepared a specific plan/master plan, mitigated negative declaration, water supply/verification assessment, master tentative tract map, regional and on-site drainage studies, a CLOMR and LOMR for FEMA approval, a water quality management plan, and a large lot final map for the project.

Project Challenge

The Virada Specific Plan/Project Master Plan is the third comprehensive master plan for the development of approximately 656 acres located at the base of the Indio Hills in the northwestern portion of the City of Indio. The project site is situated at the limit of available infrastructure and services. Its location and environmental conditions provided the engineering design professionals substantial challenges for the project’s planning. The area is prone to substantial flooding from upslope canyons and is adjacent to three Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (CVMSHCP) Conservation Areas. The project site is also bisected by the Banning Fault Zone, where multiple faults exist, posing noteworthy seismic risks to potential development. In addition, a 530 foot wide utility corridor bisects the project site on a northwest to southeast diagonal.

Project Solution

Virada’s 656 acres and 1,287 households were designed within an ecological planning framework. Over 166 acres of the project site will remain undisturbed. Its land use design incorporates xeriscape landscaping and conforms with CVMSHCP land use adjacency guidelines. A 107-acre community park features hiking trails and areas for active and passive recreation. When combined, the total open space for Virada, including the community and neighborhood parks, gardens, paseos, trails, and easements, exceeds 420 acres, or 64% of the total project site. A community solar array will power the common elements of the community. Site design responded to multiple on-site faults, with placement of compatible land uses and provision of appropriate setbacks for occupied structures. Virada also includes flood control facilities to enhance area-wide flood protection, and an off-site water reservoir to serve Virada and future peripheral development.