Some Gilbert, Arizona, residents are urging local officials to mandate that behavioral-health hospitals must be at least 500 feet away from schools and day cares. The Planning Commission is considering special zoning districts for these kinds of hospitals.
Last year, a behavioral-health center tried without success to open in the town. The developer, who was based in Kentucky, proposed building a 72-bed, $14 million hospital to treat addiction and mental illness.
The proposed site was close to Val Vista Drive and Williams Field Road; the first proposed site near Pioneer Elementary faced considerable opposition from parents and neighbors. Both groups had concerns over decreasing property values and safety issues. Ultimately, both proposed locations fell through and the project was shelved.
Stakeholders and residents held meetings last summer to study municipal regulations and seek changes. In addition to keeping such facilities away from day cares and schools, they also want to provide additional input when proposals are announced.
Their recommendation was that these hospitals be located in the urban centers near public transit.
They also want to see a change in the Land Development Code to make the term “hospital” include in-patient behavioral health services.
One member of the stakeholder group spoke out, saying these facilities are integral for communities.
When planning commercial real estate developments, developers often run up against negative feedback from residents who fear the negative impact on their community will outweigh any positives. Sometimes, their fears can be alleviated with discussions and information that allays their fears.
A commercial real estate attorney can be a good source for accurate information on state and local zoning laws and other regulations.
Source: The Republic, “Gilbert to regulate location of mental-health facilities?” Srianthi Perera, Nov. 17, 2014
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