ENCINITAS: Council Slows Conversion of San Luis Rey Hospital
Responding to public concerns, the Encinitas City Council moved to slow Silverado Senior Living's conversion of the Behavioral Health Care-owned San Luis Rey mental hospital to a senior assisted-living center by requiring Silverado to seek a new permit. Carl Tate, Silverado's director of development, argued yesterday that the services Silverado is proposing are "so similar to what Behavioral Health Care provided that his firm should not be required to seek a new or modified-use permit." The process of seeking a new permit requires the approval of the town Planning Commission and could take months (Daniels, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/13).
The Council concurred with demands made Tuesday by a group of protesting teens, who urged the council to reject Silverado's request. The San Luis Rey hospital was North County's only comprehensive acute-care mental health treatment facility for adolescents. Seventeen-year-old protester Silverio Reyes said, "There's already over 50 senior citizen assisted-living facilities in this area, but there's only one teen psychiatric and drug treatment facility, and they are closing it down." Silverado officials defend the conversion, arguing that "as many as 3,500 seniors afflicted with [Alzheimer's] live in the area but do not have access to state-of-the-art treatment the new facility could provide." To prepare for the sale, Behavioral Health Care, which owns the hospital, discharged patients and laid off the 150-member staff in late December. Teenagers seeking treatment have been re- routed to Orange County (Daniels, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/12).
The Union-Tribune reports that Charter Hospital of Rancho Bernardo is considering a deal to relocate the former San Luis Rey substance abuse program to the Charter facility. Alain Azcona, Charter's development director, said, "We spoke with ... representatives about 10 days ago. And we're awaiting a prospective bid from them. We feel we could fill the void left by the loss of their tenancy at San Luis Rey" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/13).