Letter: Treatment Facilities Taking Over Neighborhoods

Anthony and Clare Petrotta, Capistrano Beach

My question to residents and property owners of Dana Point, Capistrano Beach and San Clemente are how many of you are aware of the “alcohol and drug rehab” houses in your neighborhood?

Were you aware there is legislation titled “Health and Safety Code Section 11834.20-11834.25” that “encourages each county and city to permit the development of sufficient numbers and types of alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities as are commensurate with local need?”

How is that need established when these rehabees are not necessarily our local residents but rather residents from other states, etc.? The code cites treatment facilities serving “six or fewer persons shall not be subject to any business taxes, local registration fees, use permit fees or other fees to which other single-family dwellings are not likewise subject.”

The problem for all residents is the impact on your community and resale, and I question how these “facilities” are being regulated. Who provides inspection and regulation to assure they are compliant with the federal and local guidelines, which regulate the number of rehabees?

Unfortunately, our communities are being overrun with these facilities with homeowners totally unaware until the cars and vans start blocking your street, until the smoke permeates your patio that was previously smoke-free, until the Metallica music overrides your smooth jazz and until you no longer see the gardener who previously kept the property well maintained.

I can see only one reason there is not better push-back from the City Manager’s office and that is financial gain. When do the cities start protecting the current homeowner and their investment that has paid taxes for 24-plus years? What about the family who relocates and pays in excess of $2 million for a home only to find out they have a drug and alcohol rehab moving in across the street?

How do they ever recoup their investment?

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4 Responses to “Letter: Treatment Facilities Taking Over Neighborhoods”

  1. Paul
    June 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I was recently made aware of these facilities in our local neighborhoods and the incredible $ they generate. Insurance companies are paying as much as $30,000 per person per month to the operators of these businesses. Simple math 6x $30,000 = $180,000 per month! I met with the people running the establishment and visited two homes talking to the rehabees. One was from Michigan, another Indiana and two others from Oregon. The police had raided the house the day before at 6am and that was the topic of the morning. ( I’m sure the neighbors were thrilled).This looked like a frat house with one kid on the couch,( having withdrawls from heroine), and others preparing for a day at the beach. Two or three beds per bedroom,the homes were well kept with a list of chores for each person to do and the yards were fairly well kept. Bottom line is that there is a need but my question is should the need be serviced with residents from the local area or from far away? I’m sure it is better from the rehabs point of view that the rehabees be away from their local enviornment but is southern Callifornia the big draw for addicts in rehab? Are we hatching a cottage business lucrative with tax advantages but equally rich in property value reductions? Are we inviting residents with dubious credentials where our kids and residents may have a reduction in their safety? Is there a false sense that we are “taking care of the problem” when in reality the local addicts are not getting served? I get it, as a society we need to take care of one another, but are we exposing our residents and their children to groups of drug addicts many with several arrests for violations other than drugs? How many of these are properties owned by the organization providing service? Both of the homes I visited were rented. Does this allow the organizations to profit with no financial interest in the property or the plummeting value it gives the area? I believe there is zoning for a reason. That these are medical facilities and should be in areas appropriate to medical drug recovery.

  2. DP_Resident
    June 3, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    If someone wants to check out a neighborhood before buying etc.,
    How would we go about discovering homes that are serving this purpose ?

    It should be made public like Megan’s Law offenders.

  3. DP Resident 2
    June 5, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Is there anything that can be done to force these facilities out of our neighborhoods. How can we take action against this?

  4. Clare Petrotta
    July 5, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    To address the submitted comments regarding “Treatment Facilities Taking over our Neighborhoods”… I think as residents we need to have some answers to questions such as:
    1. What is the “local need” for these facilities? What are the true number of persons within our city who are in need of rehab?
    2. What does the city gain monetarily from the Government to promote this regulation?
    3. What agency is overseeing the running of these facilities and are they held to standards established by whom???

    I think these private treatment homes have been allowed because for the most part no one knows they exist until one moves in next door to you and also its easier to ignore when it isn’t your next door neighbor. Residents should all be involved and have a voice just as Newport Beach residents finally did when they were able to limit the facilities to 250 in their town…..imagine 250 in Dana Point!!!!

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