In May, Turlock resident John Snoke stood before the Turlock Planning Commission to voice concerns he and other community members had about construction of the student apartment complex, The Vista, in their neighborhood. In the 42 days since students moved into the complex, a litany of calls to the Turlock Police Department have substantiated those concerns.
Loud parties, a stolen golf cart and even underage drinking and smoking have plagued The Vista over the past two weeks, according to TPD reports, as students settle into their new home and adjust to their fall school schedules. Snoke, whose backyard shares a wall with the apartment complex’s parking lot, added that traffic congestion on Monte Vista Avenue has increased during the day, and noise from cars in the parking lot, loud music from the clubhouse and the sounds of students “yelling throughout the complex” continue into the night well past 11 p.m.
“Since the students have moved in, the noise levels have gone up. Cars are coming in and out during all times of day and night,” said Snoke. “They have security guards, but they allow the students to do whatever they please.”
TPD has been called out to The Vista numerous times to respond to noise complaints, and on several occasions, officers’ visits to the complex revealed additional security concerns.
On Sept. 16, officers were dispatched to The Vista multiple times during the night in response to “several noise disturbance-type calls for parties being held,” according to the department’s daily activity log.
That same night, officers from both TPD and the Stanislaus State University Police Department recovered a golf cart they thought may belong to The Vista while responding to a call of shots fired. The golf cart was found in the 3000 block of Dels Lane riddled with three fresh, small caliber gunshots to its fiberglass hood.
The Vista’s New Lease Up Specialist Courtney Jurasko posted to the Turlock Neighborhood Watch Facebook page that a golf cart had been stolen from the property on Sept. 16.
While attempting to locate security at The Vista who could positively identify the golf cart, the UPD officer broke up a fight between two juvenile females who had been drinking.
The following weekend, on Sept. 23, TPD officers responded to The Vista again several times due to noise disturbance complaints following the Stan Fest concert. During a later response about a “large party,” an officer found a number of what appeared to be high school-aged children in the complex’s clubhouse who were smoking marijuana and drinking, according to police reports.
The officers were unable to open the clubhouse door, which is secured by card access, and when the juveniles noticed the police presence, they were able to flee out the back of the building. The police report states that no security was on scene in the area and upon conducting a walkthrough, they found several buildings not secure. It was unclear how the juveniles were able to enter the complex or clubhouse, as officers learned that the complex’s security was already off-duty when the incident occurred.
According to David Moon, president of Corelaine Capital Group, which partnered with AMCAL equities on The Vista’s development, the property is unaware of the incident. He added that security is on duty until 3:30 a.m., however, police reports indicate officers were told that the security guard went off duty at 2 a.m. When asked what time security guards patrol the complex, a Vista employee stated that there is 24-hour security on the premises.
Moon was also skeptical that TPD was able to identify the subjects involved as juveniles without speaking to them, though regardless, he said, drinking and smoking are not allowed in the complex.
“If he didn’t make contact with them, that’s an assumption, I suppose. It’s kind of unfair to say they were (juveniles),” said Moon.
Moon went on to add that in situations where non-residents are allowed into the complex’s common area by residents, the complex issues a lease violation notice which can result in eviction. Only one such notice has been issued so far, he said, and compared to other multifamily properties which he operates, The Vista has been cooperative and easy to deal with, adding that there have been no arrests or citations on the property since it opened.
“They are college students, they are young, and for many of them, this is the first time they’ve lived on their own,” said Moon. “So, you have to bear that in mind, we certainly do, when dealing with them.”
Despite the department’s reports about large parties on the premises, Moon believes that the noise neighbors are dealing with is actually from students returning home from parties in the late hours of the night, rather than the students throwing parties at The Vista complex itself.
“That’s sometimes where the noise complaints come from, because they’re coming home from parties or wherever they’ve been and sometimes make noise in the common areas,” said Moon. “They’ve been spoken to about it, and the kids have been very respectable. In some cases, we tell them to take it inside.”
Snoke said that these incidents at The Vista have prompted the neighborhood to reach out to both Mayor Gary Soiseth and the Planning Commission, both of which, he said, have not helped. However, TPD has been extremely proactive in addressing issues at The Vista, he said.
“Turlock Police Department has done an outstanding job at trying to keep everything as peaceful as possible,” said Snoke. “The Vista has security guards, and they need to do their jobs. The Vista needs to understand that they are in city limits and need to respect the ordinances we have in place.”
“We want to be good neighbors. We feel that we’ve been good neighbors,” said Moon. “We have full-time management on the property, there’s security on the property. There is always somebody to call if anything happens.”
Moon believes that no matter what had been built where The Vista currently sits, the neighborhood would have complained.
“It’s always the case, frankly, that there are neighbors that don’t want development in their backyard, so to speak,” said Moon. “That property was going to be developed at some point. It was never going to remain a field forever and they knew that.”