Planning Commission debates Splash Mountain

Will the tide come back in for Splash Mountain?

The Redlands Planning Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday, Jan. 12, to revoke Splash Kingdom’s conditional use permit.

In 2018, the water park’s permit was revoked for non-compliance under current ownership Aladdin Entertainment Group, LLC. The commission voted to revoke the permit, but it was appealed and overturned by City Council, and the park was allowed to resume operation and resolve issues.

On Oct. 13, the commission reviewed the response to amended conditions of approval and determined the water park was still out of compliance with five conditions of approval. The park operators had re-striped the parking lot, landscaped and made changes to the facade without approval from the city. The commission passed a motion for staff to initiate revocation proceedings for the conditional use permit. The property also received a Notice of Violation requiring corrective actions for property maintenance issues as well as the need to correct issues related to fire damage.  

Fires occurred at the water park on May 2, which caused significant smoke and fire damage to the primary building and an estimated  $750,000 in damages. On Oct. 16, another fire damaged the water slides. Redlands Fire Marshal Chris Jensen said the Fire Department determined the fire on Oct. 16 was a criminal act and is under further investigation.

“The site is unsafe,” said Jensen. “Pool chemicals are leaking from the pipes.”

The fires were just the latest issues in a tumultuous history.

The park was built in 1994 by Jim Braswell. As Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom, the facility was a 54,000-square-foot building and Egyptian-themed water park. Attractions included an amphitheater, bumper boats, go-karts, water slides, pools and a lazy river.

In 2009, the commission revoked its conditional use permit due to non-compliance and code violations after operating as a center for night-time music and dance events.

In 2012, the commission allowed for the facility to build an indoor trampoline attraction in the main building.

In 2017, the current leaseholders took over management and ownership of the park.

In 2018, the commission again revoked the conditional use permit for multiple code violations and monitored the operator’s progress in addressing outstanding issues. In 2019, City Council overturned the decision.

“I met with the applicants on Dec. 7 and 16,” said Jensen. “I thought we were on the right track to achieve compliance. We filed a lengthy violation notice, which they acknowledged and began to work toward compliance. However, in recent weeks the applicants haven’t complied with weekly updates they were going to provide about what they had achieved.”

Redlands Principal Planner Loralee Farris said the applicants were invited to attend Jan. 12’s meeting but did not.

The commission took city staff’s recommendation and revoked the park’s conditional use permit.

Commissioner Joe Richardson did not have faith in the operators to make the needed changes.

“Even since our last conversation about this, there have been no changes,” he said.

Commissioner Matthew Endsley agreed and said the operators continue to fail to secure the site.