Conditions for Operation of Mental Health Treatment Facility Legally Weak, County, Company Officials Say
Conditions that the Pleasant Hill City Council and Crestwood Behavioral Health agreed to as part of a land-use agreement for an unlocked mental health treatment facility located in the city "have no legal backbone," Contra Costa County and Crestwood officials said at a county Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, the Contra Costa Times reports (Felsenfeld, Contra Costa Times, 10/15). The facility admitted its first residents Friday after the city, county and state gave the facility final approval (Harrington, Contra Costa Times, 10/14). The opening of the facility was delayed after the city council in September voted 3-1 to tighten the conditions under which it approved the opening of the unlocked treatment center, after voting in July to allow Crestwood Behavioral Health to open a 53,000-square-foot facility. Crestwood had agreed to limit passes out of the center to between 10 a.m. and nightfall, assign a police officer to patrol the area and not admit sex offenders or people with a history of violence, but opponents said that the conditions were not strong enough to ensure the safety of the neighborhood. However, earlier this month Contra Costa Judge Peter Spinetta ruled that the city council does not have the right to reconsider its approval of Crestwood Healing Center (California Healthline, 10/9). In addition, the supervisors assigned a deputy county administrator to monitor the facility and report to them quarterly but decided not to try to strengthen the conditions. However, county attorneys are drafting a contract to formalize the supervisors' oversight role, according to Deputy County Counsel Kevin Kerr.
Crestwood spokesperson Larry Kramer said that company attorneys indicated that the conditions for operations were not "enforceable legally," adding that the company consented to the provisions "as a sign of good faith to the city and the neighbors." Pleasant Hill Mayor Sue Angeli said that the city council would have followed a different course of action if they had known that the conditions would not be enforceable in court. "Our city attorney should have picked this up and so should have the county Health Department. They're both to blame," she said (Contra Costa Times, 10/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.