Destination gardens and resort planned near Hunter Ranch

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A new destination garden and resort is being planned for a large parcel on Highway 46 East across the highway from Hunter Ranch Golf Course and adjacent to Eberle Winery. The project received approval from the Paso Robles Planning Commission Tuesday night and moves to the city council next. The plan is a revision of a previously approved 27-hole golf course planned for the property owned by Ken Hunter.
Entrada de Paso Robles is planned to be resort complex, which includes a 200-room hotel, 80 guest casitas units, a conference center, café and a wine center, with a “garden-themed” destination park attraction, a 3-hole golf academy, ornamental landscaping production areas, an 18-acre vineyard, and ancillary site improvements. The garden-park will be called Discovery Gardens.
Discovery Gardens would include an entry building, a few small maintenance and restroom buildings, café, underground tunnel building for the “Tunnel Obscura”, and parking lots. The entire project sits on 346 acres between Highway 46 East and the Paso Robles Airport. Up to 175 oak trees, representing less than 10-percent of those on the property, may be removed for the resort.
Discovery Gardens is a destination for exploration and meditation, adventure and delight, where guests are immersed in an interactive landscape to tour and enjoy filled with playful surprises, thought-provoking encounters and amazing moments of beauty and enchantment, the developer writes in an application to the city.
Is water an issue?
“Some may be wondering what in the world we are thinking allowing this kind of use during a drought and against the backdrop of concerns over groundwater basin resources,” wrote Paso Robles City Manager Jim App on Wednesday. Because this is an entitled project already on the books from years past that allows a 27-hole golf course and resort on the property, converting it to a destination garden resort actually saves the city water, he said. The golf course would consume 500 acre feet of groundwater annually, while the garden will use just 90 acre feet, he said. That’s 80 percent less water than the golf course. The garden project is required to use recycled water when the city’s new system is in place.
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