Equivocation On Whether Grand Terrace Senior Residence Will Become A Halfway House

More than a week after the concerns of many Grand Terrace residents that a drug rehabilitation center or what was termed a halfway house is going to locate in their low-key community appeared to have been allayed, there persists a suggestion the sale of what was an assisted living facility for senior citizens will result in that complex transitioning into a far more intensive use.
At present, Vista Blue Mountain offers various onsite services and amenities for residents, including weekly housekeeping, laundry service, outdoor seating, shuttle service, activities and medical and personal services.
The Sentinel’s inquiries with individuals familiar with the current and projected future nature of the Vista Blue Mountain Assisted Living & Memory Care facility was met with a ghostly silence this week, a week after anxious Grand Terrace residents queried city officials about reports that the 88-unit live-in and specialized care residence for senior citizens located within a two-story, 49,025-square foot building at 22325 Barton Road was to be converted to a drug treatment center for young adults or teens. Two postings to that effect had been displayed on a social media platform beginning on February 26.
According to those postings, in essence, the current residents of the facility had been given a 60-day notice to vacate to make way for a new set of younger residents, including parolees and troubled youths and young adults undergoing drug rehabilitation.
Bobbie Forbes, a Grand Terrace resident and real estate agent, and Cindy Bidney, another Grand Terrace resident, came to the February 28 Grand Terrace City Council meeting to learn from city officials what they could about the change in ownership and future use of the facility.
“I was told through the grapevine, so I haven’t confirmed it yet, that it is no longer going to be a senior facility,” Forbes said, referencing Vista Blue Mountain. “It is going to be kind of like a drug rehab and a place where people coming out of jail will live. It will not be gated. My heart is racing now and for the three-and-a-half hours since I heard this. I’d like to know what the council knows, what staff knows. I know buildings do sell. I might have to retire or sell my house and move because I don’t think I want to stay here if that’s what comes. I’m almost without words tonight regarding this. This place that’s going to come into Blue Mountain Vista is scary. You think our crime is a problem now? We only have one deputy [currently patrolling the 3.5-square mile city].”
Bidney said she had heard that “It’s going to be used by ex-cons who are getting out of jail and [to give] drug addicts a place to live.”
Stating, “I’m saddened because that place was home for a lot of people and I have a dear friend who lives there,” Mayor Bill Hussey called upon City Manager Konrad Bolowich to provide what information he had regarding the matter.
Bolowich sought to assure Forbes and Bidney and anyone else concerned about the makeover that their misgivings were not grounded in actuality.
“The facility has sold,” Bolowich confirmed. “From our discussions with the buyer, the intention is they are using it for adult rehabilitation, not drug addicts, not convicts. Adults with head injuries, not necessarily seniors or a convalescent hospital but adults that require care of a medical nature. It is not a rehab building. It’s not a convict housing building. So, they’re changing the age bracket, not the purpose of the building.”
Some accepted Bolowich’s reassurance, and the issue seemed to have receded.
The Sentinel’s effort to retrace the information and assertions in the social media postings that had led to the questions being asked by Forbes, Bidney and others as well as Bolowich’s statements confirmed that the sale had indeed taken place, with the seller, Blake Parsons and his company RBP Communities, which owns and operates Vista Blue Mountain and a similar 69-unit assisted living and memory care facility in Salinas called Vista Harden Ranch, having been paid $12 million by the buyer, MHRE Grand Terrace LLC., and its agent, John Ramsbacher.
MHRE Grand Terrace LLC was veiled in a degree of secrecy, having existed for only three months after being set up as a Delaware Corporation by Ramsbacher, it appears, solely for the purpose of making the transaction with RBP Communities/Parsons.
In digging deeper, the Sentinel by email contacted Betty Dominici, the founder and chief executive officer, and Kamal Grewal, the chief operating officer, of Alamo Senior Living Management. Alamo Senior Living Management manages both Blue Mountain Vista and Vista Harden Ranch for RBP Communities. The Sentinel was told by a current Vista Blue Mountain employee that Dominici and Grewal would be knowledgeable about all phases of Blue Mountain Vista’s transition from an assisted living and memory care facility to its reorganized function.
The Sentinel asked about the order for existing residents to vacate the Blue Mountain Vista premises; the conflicting information as to what and whom the revamped facility’s clientele is to consist of; the report that those to come into the facility are to be young adults or teens recovering from drug addiction; the report that it is to serve as a halfway house for parolees or probationers recently released from custody and mandated to live in a controlled environment/facility before they are integrated back into the community; and that the facility is to be a recovery and rehabilitation center where accident and stroke victims are to undergo live-in therapy.
The Sentinel asked Dominici and Grewal for as full of an exposition as they were at liberty to provide with regard to what the circumstance with Vista Blue Mountain is and will be.
The Sentinel asked directly if in its next incarnation Vista Blue Mountain is to function as a recover center, as a live-in recovery center or as an out-patient recover center. The Sentinel inquired if indeed it is to be a recovery center, what the anticipated nature of the infirmities that the patients or residents or patient/residents to be treated there is to be. The Sentinel asked if the patients/residents are to be recovering substance abusers or if they are to be accident victims or if they are to be stroke victims.
The Sentinel asked how the facility will be described and whether it would best be labeled as a clinic, recovery center or a collective recovery home or recovery residence. The Sentinel asked if the facility is to retain the name of Vista Blue Mountain in its title.
The Sentinel asked whether the 88-person residential capacity of the facility will remain and, if not, what the residential capacity will be.
The Sentinel asked Dominici and Grewal, if indeed the new facility is to serve as either a halfway house for those released from incarceration or as a recovery facility for those seeking to transition out of addiction, whether they could offer the residents of Grand Terrace an assurance that having such individuals as would be housed and/or serviced there will not be a burden upon nearby businesses and residences or any type of hazard to the surrounding neighborhood. The Sentinel asked, if in actuality the new facility is to be a halfway house or addiction recovery center, whether they could enumerate the precautions the new ownership is going to take to prevent any onerous impact on those living or transacting business nearby.
Neither Dominici nor Grewal responded to the Sentinel.
-Mark Gutglueck

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