City of Chula Vista holds meeting regarding controversial mental health hospital

Data pix.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- It has been a big topic of discussion among people living in the Eastlake area of Chula Vista for months, and Thursday night people finally got to take their questions and concerns about a proposed mental health facility straight to the people behind the project.

A community meeting was held open-house style by Chula Vista's development services department along with Scripps Health and Acadia Healthcare, with poster boards of renderings and information about the hospital.

People against the proposed hospital also came prepared, all dressed in yellow shirts and with their own poster boards. Community group Chula Vista Safe had been waiting for this meeting for months since first hearing about the hospital plans.

"The location is just unacceptable," said Brad Davis.

Under a partnership between Scripps Health and Acadia Healthcare, the proposed 120-bed behavioral health hospital would be built on Showroom Place, near the District at Eastlake.

Opponents argue the location is far too close to homes and schools.

"Studies have shown that facilities like this do better when they are colocated with a hospital, police, medical and community outreach support services. When you put a high-risk facility in a cul-de-sac in a quiet neighborhood, that’s just not the secret to success," said Davis.

Opponents have also been critical about why Scripps chose to partner with Acadia, a company that has faced lawsuits and controversy at other, similar facilities.

"This a facility will be accredited by the joint commission, it will be certified by Medicare and Medicaid and will have extra oversight through the joint operating committee with Scripps," said Jerry Gold, administrator for Scripps Behavioral Health Services.

While the opposition seems strong at this early stage of the project, there were people who showed up to the informational meeting and walked away in favor of the hospital.

"It’s something that we desperately need and this is a wonderful community area. Yes, there are lots of residents around but they’re not going to be that close to it actually," said Martha Doiron.

The project is still in the application process with the city. Once that’s finalized, it will move on to the planning commission.

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