County delays decision on psychiatric hospital

December 12, 2015

After more than three hours of discussion, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission delayed making a decision Thursday on a proposed mental health hospital in Templeton. The commission scheduled another hearing for Jan. 14.

Harvey and Melanie Billig are seeking approval for the construction of a 55-to-60-bed assisted living facility for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and a 91-bed psychiatric hospital on property off of Las Tablas Road near Twin Cities Community Hospital.

County planning staff recommended that the Planning Commission approve the project.

In addition, Deputy County Counsel Whitney McDonald asked the commissioners to avoid discussing issues regarding mentally ill patients, which is considered a disability. State and federal laws prohibit the government from considering disabilities when deciding land-use issues.

Opponents of the project voiced concerns about lower property values and patients endangering the safety of residents. Some of those concerns were promoted through a flier mailed to residents from PB Companies, a pair of developers working to build a competing 80-bed assisted living facility also on Las Tablas Road in Templeton.

Proponents of the project noted the lack of mental health facilities in the county, which they say endangers county residents, and the stigma surrounding mental illness.

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Templeton is having it growing pains over this one, I would expect Templeton to incorporate soon and certainly the CSD will have to lawyer up if they haven’t already.

There is a problem in SLO County. It is a similar problem to what we saw happen in Pueblo County, when we lived in Colorado.

In SLO County we have the county Jail and CMC in SLO, we have ASH in Atascadero, and the Youth Facility in Paso Robles. And now people want to put a REGIONAL mental health facility in Templeton.

This reminds me of Colorado because prisons were popping up throughout all of Pueblo County. Instead of building prisons within a relatively small confine, prisons were built all over the county based on who owned what property and who could gain the most. The entire landscape of Pueblo County changed – for the worse.

And this is where SLO County seems intent on making the same mistakes Pueblo County did. Instead of clustering similar facilities together, the Planning Commission and Country Supervisors are choosing to blight the entire county with facilities that most people prefer not to live next to.

Simply stated, this is poor municipal planning. It is only being proposed in Templeton because the Billig’s own the property. And the only reason it is under consideration is because Ms. Billig was the mayor of SLO.

This seems like a conflict of interest and if one had the legal means, I think the Billig/SLO mayor relationship would stop the project dead in its tracks.


I sat through the hearing and here is my takeaway: The land is zoned for this, it is in the designated medical community area, there is a tremendous need for this, and the only ones complaining are neighbors who have been frightened by a violent competitor.

This hospital will treat private-paying clients, not homeless schizophrenics. We need this facility, according to state guidelines and from a practical standpoint: people here must go to Santa Barbara, Ventura, Santa Rosa, and even San Bernardino to get in-patient help, which is not conducive to family visits and support. It is a locked-down facility, meaning no one can just walk in or out – unlike other hospitals. This hospital will provide high paying local jobs (especially for nurses from the Cuesta College nursing program), sales and property tax revenue, and other positive benefits to our local economy and community.

If you think this is a bad idea, please come up with a better one!

So instead of building a facility next to Doctors offices and a Hospital that MAKES SENSE, where else should we put it? Next to a school? A playground? If you don’t like it say it but PLEASE save the LAME arguments.

Promoted by PB developers, And it is Petitit who was recently charged with domestic violence. And let us not forget that Adam Hill is partners with this group.

This is a pair to draw to concerning mental health issues. This is so sorely needed in so many places I hope the Billig’s can get it passed.

Templeton is full of rich, well-connected Nimbys.

Don’t be shocked if the hospital is kicked to some community like Los Osos or Oceano that isn’t full of wealthy political donors and is far from a hospital that can service mental health patients.

The Billigs own the land in Templeton. They are interested in developing their property for the mental health hospital.They cannot make the big bucks in another location.


“Some of those concerns were promoted through a flier mailed to residents from PB Companies, a pair of developers working to build a competing 80-bed assisted living facility also on Las Tablas Road in Templeton.”

The heavy hand of Ryan Peteit strikes again! Hopefully no smashed windows are involved.