Commission approves Templeton psychiatric hospital

January 15, 2016

Templeton hospital

The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday in support of a proposed mental health hospital in Templeton. An appeal of the project to the board of supervisors is likely, though.

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

Public opinion on the project has been split.

Proponents have noted the lack of mental health facilities in the county, which they say endangers local residents. Opponents of the project have voiced concerns about lower property values and patients endangering the safety of residents.

Last month, the planning commission discussed the project for more than three hours. The commission delayed ruling on the proposed psychiatric hospital until Thursday.

At the December meeting, Deputy County Counsel Whitney McDonald asked the commissioners to avoid discussing issues regarding mentally ill patients. State and federal laws prohibit the government from from considering disabilities when making decisions on land use issues.

Some of the opposition to the planned psychiatric hospital has come from San Luis Obispo development firm PB Companies. In 2014, PB Companies mailed a flier to residents in the area warning that approval of the Billigs’ project would result in lower property values and endanger residents.

PB Companies is working on a competing plan to build an 80-bed assisted living facility, which would also be located on Las Tablas Road in Templeton.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill, who may soon vote on the Billigs’ project, is a public advocate of PB Companies projects. Hill also received at least $10,001 in 2014 from a consulting company tied to the development firm.

Hill has already met with Harvey Billig about the planned psychiatric hospital and assisted living facility. Billig said Hill acted positively when they met and gave no indication he was opposed to the project. Hill did not discuss his paid consulting role, though, Billig said.

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Was the applicant required to own the hospital for, let’s say 20 years, or will they just sell the permission that was precipitated from their local influences. Personally I have a problem with the public process that allows the applicant to sell the permission and run.

Once committed, Adam can sing this special song as he passes the time:

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to

In my room, in my room

In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears

In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming

Lie awake and pray

Do my crying and my sighing

Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone

But I won’t be afraid

In my room, in my room

In my room, in my room

In my room, in my room

Nothing you can do about Templeton’s rapid growth. You can’t stay small in this county anymore. All the “land rich” old timer families were bound to get greedy and sell off their land for development.

If I only won the Powerball lottery….