Save Oswit Canyon, Inc., a group of over 2,000 Palm Springs residents, is backing a Citizens Initiative to protect the Oswit Cone, which includes the entire canyon and
alluvial fan.

Save oswit key points

  • A Citizens Initiative was filed November 14th with the City of Palm Springs to protect the Oswit Cone.

  • The initiative, once passed, will change the current zoning on 256 acres of environmentally and historically important land in South Palm Springs. The land is currently classified in the general plan as “Biological Sensitivity and Conservation area,” but there are inconsistencies with current zoning in other city plans that would allow for mass building of up to 325 homes. This initiative will amend the municipal code, Canyon South Specific Plan and the City of Palm Springs general plan in order to change the zoning to Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) zoning, allowing the construction of 6 homes.

  • We needed 5,000 signatures of registered Palm Springs voters. We started collecting signatures the first week of December.

  • Now that we have the required signatures, the City Council can either adopt the ordinance as written (which we encourage) or call for a special election. The City Council has the backing of a Supreme Court decision (case S 207173) to approve the initiative as written and not have the city spend the money on a special election ($60,000-$70,000 cost).

  • The City has established precedent in protecting its irreplaceable natural assets by rezoning areas ESA-SP (Palm Springs City Ordinance 1700 Chino Cone Ordinance) and the Oswit Cone (alluvial fan and canyon) meets the conditions for rezoning ESA-SP as established by the precedent. Once passed by the citizens of Palm Springs, Oswit Canyon will have the same environmental protection as the Chino Cone.

  • We are not anti-development. We encourage smart, ethical development in the city while preserving the sparse critical habitat that remains.

  • The Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy has offered to buy three parcels of land in Oswit Canyon from the land owner for the full appraised value. The land owner declined the offer.

  • It takes tens of thousands of years for an alluvial fan to form, and the Oswit Cone in South Palm Springs is one of the top eco-tourist destinations in Palm Springs, bringing in thousands of hikers, photographers, artists and nature lovers every year from around the world.