Mission Viejo : Council Votes to Oppose Psychiatric Hospital

The Mission Viejo Municipal Advisory Council voted 3 to 2 late Monday to recommend that the county Planning Commission deny a proposed 80-bed psychiatric hospital for the HighPark business center.

A three-story, $10.5-million acute psychiatric care facility is being proposed by the Charter Medical Corp. of Georgia for the business center at Los Alisos Boulevard and Madero, in unincorporated Mission Viejo.

The council voted to deny the project based on its land-use incompatibility with the business park and surrounding residential communities. Neighboring residents submitted a 371-signature petition opposing the hospital, citing their fear that property values would decrease and that their communities would be unsafe because patients would be allowed to go on supervised walks outside the building.

Council members Marilyn MacDougall and Robert Breton cast the dissenting votes, saying they believed that there would be no danger to the public because the hospital would serve white-collar people with temporary disorders, such as depression, and not transients with long-term mental illnesses.

The council's vote will be considered advisory to the Planning Commission, which will make the ultimate decision on the facility. However, the commission's action may be appealed to the Board of Supervisors, officials said.

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