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Planning approves additional 60 beds at student housing complex
Increase in residents concerns nearby homeowners
Vista pic
The City of Turlock Planning Commission approved an amendment to The Vistas development plan, allowing for an additional 60 beds to be added into its 180 apartment units. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Not only will prospective Stanislaus State students have an abundance of rooms to choose from this summer at the nearly-completed student apartment complex, The Vista, but they will also be able to live there at a much more affordable price thanks to the City of Turlock Planning Commission’s decision Thursday evening to approve a new amendment to the development’s plan.

Originally slated to house 600 beds, the 180-unit, group of three four-story buildings will now accommodate 660 beds – something Vista owner David Moon hopes will ease the pockets of students and their families looking for somewhere to live during the school year.

“The reason we’re doing this is that by adding 60 beds in our units we’re splitting up the rent,” said Moon. “What we’ve discovered in leasing the project to date, and also from many meetings with the university, is that there are a lot of kids and their families that frankly couldn’t afford single occupancy.”

Most of the housing in the Stanislaus State dorms is either double or triple occupancy, Moon pointed out, and The Vista hopes to keep their rent prices equivalent to what the university charges.

The additional 60 beds will result in a decrease in the bed-to-parking space ratio, which will go from its previous number of .98 parking spaces per bed to .89 spaces per bed. To help support the reduction in the parking ratio, City staff asked the complex developers to conduct a study of parking ratios used in similar cities, as well as other Turlock apartment complexes near the university.

The study found that in Chico, Carson and San Bernardino, the standard parking ratio is one parking space per two rooms, while in Sacramento, the ratio is one parking space per three rooms. At Briarwood Apartments in Turlock, there are less than .90 spaces per bed, and at The Boardwalk Apartments behind Stanislaus State, there are less than .80 spaces per bed.

Despite The Vista’s similarity to nearby apartment complexes and comparable cities throughout the state, the decreased parking ratio has caused concern among residents who live near the complex and are already upset that students attending class at the university park in their neighborhoods.

Daniel Leitner, whose neighborhood shares a wall with The Vista, penned a letter to Deputy Director of Planning Debbie Whitmore addressing his apprehension about the additional number of beds.

“The parking on site doesn’t seem to be enough to accommodate what is already projected. Overflow parking will impact our neighborhood with overnight parking in front of our houses,” wrote Leitner. “A 10 percent increase in residents will result in an increase in traffic on our residential streets.”

Moon stated that at similar student apartment complexes he has constructed, like at California State University Monterey Bay, students are not encouraged to bring a vehicle to school with them. At CSUMB, only 60 percent of students that live in Moon’s student housing bring their cars, he said. Also, Whitmore added that the estimated .89 parking ratio was calculated using a 100 percent occupancy at

The Vista, which Moon estimates to only reach about 96 percent occupancy. As of Wednesday, 57 percent of the units in the complex had been leased.

Also, said Moon, parking at The Vista will be for residents of the apartments only, in addition to occasional guests, meaning that there should not be an overflow of parking that will negatively affect the surrounding neighborhood. Moon still has not decided if the complex will use a permit-based parking system or assign a parking space to each tenant, but either way, parking for residents will be free of charge.

John Snoke, a neighbor of Leitner’s and Neighborhood Watch leader of the area, spoke during the meeting’s public hearing portion about issues he has had with the construction of The Vista, including the number of changes the original development plan has undergone and the noise made by construction crews early in the morning.

“Our biggest concern is the fact that since they’ve changed this project so many times, they shouldn’t be allowed to add anything else,” said Snoke. “It has caused a severe inconvenience to me and my neighbors.”

Snoke added that some of his neighbors’ properties have damage due to the nearby construction, and that he and his neighbors are planning to file a lawsuit against Moon and The Vista’s developers.

Despite the nearby residents’ concerns, the Planning Commission unanimously approved The Vista’s request to amend their original development plan, allowing for an additional 60 beds to be added to the complex.

Those who are dissatisfied with the actions of the Planning Commission may file an appeal within 10 days following the decision. Information on how to file an appeal can be found at the Planning Department by calling 209-668-5640.