CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Plans for a highly contested psychiatric hospital in the South Bay, first proposed nearly three years ago, will not move forward after a council vote Wednesday night.
The hospital was proposed for the Eastlake area of Chula Vista in spring 2019 and received 6-to-1 approval by a planning commission in November 2021. But that decision was appealed by the community group Chula Vista Safe, or “CVSafe”, and the Chula Vista City Council voted 3-2 to grant that appeal Tuesday. Mayor Mary Casillas Salas and Councilmember Andrea Cardenas were the votes in favor of the hospital moving forward.
The Eastlake Behavioral Health Hospital was proposed as a one-story, 97,050 square-foot building to include 120 beds on a 10.5 acre site located at Showroom Place within the Eastlake Business Center II.
“We have no faith that they’re going to be able to execute an agreement that’s the best for the city and best for the residents,” Ian Burgar, a member of CVSafe, told FOX 5 Tuesday. Residents like Burgar have been rallying against the project for years now. They said that they are not against providing mental health services, but they oppose the chosen site and the company running the facility
“We have concerns of their inadequate elopement and security protocols. We have concerns of insufficient physical security and barriers,” said Brad Davis, who led the appeal.
The facility would have been operated by Acadia Healthcare in partnership with Scripps Health, which spoke in support of the project at public meetings. According to Scripps, the region only has about half as many inpatient beds as it should for a county of its size.
Other supporters included the man who sold the property and some residents of the area.
“This is not a long-term treatment facility, this is not an insane asylum, or a psychiatric ward. This facility offers five-to-seven treatment programs,” said Mike Vogt, President of IRE development.
But concerns have persisted over the location near a neighborhood and schools, as well as high-profile negative incidents at Acadia facilities across the country.
Acadia says it’s gone above and beyond to assure the location is right, including with its environmental review process.
“An EIR was not necessary because the project is consistent with the existing final EIR for the Eastlake specific plan, nevertheless we chose to prepare a full environmental impact report in anticipation of opposition,” said Robin Madaffer, Acadia legal counsel.