LMD

Credit: City of Banning

A snapshot of tracts to be combined into 10 landscape maintenance zones.

Nearly 1,000 homes around Banning will soon be paying uniform rates for landscape upkeep that at the moment are inconsistently being maintained.

Peacock Valley 2, not to be confused with Peacock Valley 1, which is a 55 and older community.

Peacock Valley 2’s homeowners association disbanded, and has been approved for annexation into one of 10 proposed landscape maintenance district zones.

The city will place a measure on the ballot, and more than half of Peacock Valley’s residents would have to approve of the annexation in order to become a part of the LMD.

The city has four such LMD zones, and is considering dividing them into 10 smaller zones, as was discussed at the Nov. 12 city council meeting.

The city will present a few options for property owners in those zones. The most expensive one includes a $13 per square foot annual cost to be recovered over 30 years to help the city pay for construction in the LMD areas.

Another is a consistent cost option for the maintenance and utilities for mostly exterior strips of land here and there, to be billed at retail rates.

The tracts within the LMD zones are not contiguous, and some tracts have been paying for benefits that they are not receiving, while others are paying below market value for services, according to Public Works Director Art Vela.

During the council meeting, photos of a barren parkway perimeter with a couple of overgrown trees along Wilson Street and Highland Home Road depicted some of the areas that could use improvements, but without the appropriate assessments, the city has no resources to dedicate services in those areas, such as plant replacement or replacement of irrigation systems.

The costs would be divided equally among all 997 property owners in each LMD zone, regardless of their property sizes, Vela told the council.

Councilman Dave Happe offered his support for the measure.

“We have to consider whether just because you don’t happen to live in that district do you get a benefit from — for instance, the annexation of Peacock Valley: if I drive up and down Sunset every day, I think that I would: it would make my town look a little more pleasant to actually have a maintained green space … so there’s an argument there that there is a public benefit as well in this regard,” Happe said, suggesting that the city offer applying discounted municipal rates rather than retail water rates.

City Attorney Kevin Ennis cautioned that using a municipal rate may not comply with Proposition 218, and making exceptions for the LMDs could ultimately shift some of the costs of those services onto other regular retail ratepayers.

The city will host a couple of community meetings (one was scheduled for Nov. 20) to get feedback from residents, before presenting its final analysis for the council to approve in January.

The city is required to follow Proposition 218 requirements, ensuring that the residents in the proposed zones can vote to approve or deny the new zones and their assessments.

If approved, the LMD will become 10 smaller zones and Peacock Valley 2 will be included among them; if not, the four zones will remain as they are today, and the city will have to come up with another solution in paying for the landscape maintenance and plant and irrigation replacement services in those four zones.

Councilman Don Peterson motioned to approve applying retail rates and for placing annexation of Peacock Valley 2 on the ballot, seconded by Colleen Wallace, and passed unanimously.

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

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