Town & Country Center
This summer Grit Development, the owner of the historic Town & Country Center, announced a rehabilitation plan that will begin in January with the period-correct repainting of the building's exteriors, landscape improvements, and re-roofing. A comprehensive rehabilitation will follow after the firm's downtown project has been completed in several years. In the interim, the City of Palm Springs ordered the company to more fully secure the property and prevent further deterioration.
The Town & Country Center has been a top priority for our organization since the early 2000s. Last year the Palm Springs City Council officially directed the Palm Springs Modern Committee to advise the council and work with the owner on a historically and architecturally accurate rehabilitation. Councilman J.R. Roberts said of this arrangement, "The City has clearly stated that the Town & Country Center is an important asset in our revitalized downtown that can be brought back to life for the benefit of residents and tourists alike. We commend the property owner for committing to making this a reality
Recently the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (the Tribe) has claimed broad jurisdiction over historic resources in the City of Palm springs. Specifically, a 2005 agreement between America’s tribes and the federal government grants giving the Tribe the right to review and comment on nominations to the National Register of Historic Places for properties within tribal land, including fee simple land that was once within tribal boundaries. This has already delayed the National Register nomination process for an Alexander house in the Twin Palms neighborhood.
More significantly, the Tribe now wishes to review nominations for local designation of properties located outside of tribal land, i.e. within the entire City of Palm Springs.
In March, PS ModCom’s attorney sent a letter to the City detailing why the Tribe’s claims of jurisdiction outside of tribal lands are without basis. To summarize:
- For local designation or Mills Act Contracts (property tax deductions), the Tribe has no jurisdiction over fee simple land that was once owned by the Tribe. As such, the City retains jurisdiction.
- Only the City has the authority to designate non-reservation resources to a local register.
- The Tribe does not have the authority to approve projects that may impact historic resources on fee simple non-Indian property.
- The Tribe does not have any responsibility regarding the Citywide Historic Resources Survey.