Vista Serena

The entrance to the Vista Serena community.

The gated Vista Serena neighborhood in Banning, home to Mayor Colleen Wallace, was never completed when it was approved on Nov. 1, 1972.

At the time, 134 units were anticipated.

The community included a couple of tennis courts, swimming pool, and a community recreation center.

Only 96 units ended up being built, as the developer lost its ability to complete the project, the reasons as to why, lost to time.

At Banning’s March 23 council meeting, the city went ahead and approved a tentative tract map that will allow Long Beach-based developer Tahiti Partners Properties, Corp. to proceed with adding 32 more units in the high density residential zoning area that is just under three acres.

The project site at 1248 Vista Serena is on the south side of Theodore Street and west of Hermosa Street.

Of the 96 existing units at the complex, only six are owner-occupied; the remainder are rented out, according to Geoffrey Payne, CEO of Tahiti Partners, who joined the council meeting virtually.

He explained to the council that his firm anticipated leasing the 32 units, while maintaining ownership of them.

“In our case” for the units being developed, “We’re not building them to sell them. We may sell some and keep others, but our intention is to basically have apartment homes,” giving Tahiti Partners ownership of 25 percent of the living units within Vista Serena, Payne said.

The firm is joining the HOA, providing an additional $8,000 or so in income to that entity, he said. “It doesn’t give us a majority, and we’re not looking to exercise any kind of power,” Payne said.

According to Wallace, most of the added units will be two-story condominiums.

Payne attempted to address a concern by a resident of the existing Vista Serena community regarding ADA-accessibility, explaining that he could only address the inclusion of ADA access within the 32 units his firm will be building. He said his firm would be helping to add ADA accessibility and ramps elsewhere in the existing development, such as for the community’s clubhouse. Payne said that his firm will be sensitive to ensure that design standards of the new homes would reflect the designs incorporated nearly 50 years ago when the initial homes were built. Mayor Wallace had recused herself from that portion of the public hearing, which was then run by Mayor Pro Tem David Happe.

Councilman Alberto Sanchez motioned to approve the two-year tentative tract map, seconded by Kyle Pingree. The resolution passed 4-0 with Wallace recused.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , and messages may be left at (951) 849-4586 x114.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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