WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- There is a battle brewing in the East Bay over a proposed mental health facility in a residential neighborhood. The would-be operator says it would be perfectly safe, but some residents of Walnut Creek's Tice Valley neighborhood have started a petition drive to keep it out.
"We're concerned about the location. We feel it's really in the wrong place," said neighbor Laurie Callaway, who lives just a few hundred feet from the proposed residential care home. "This is a neighborhood full of children, full of elderly, we're concerned about security."
It is a proposed residential treatment center, in a converted home at 2181 Tice Valley, for people recovering from mental health issues, everything from depression to post-traumatic stress syndrome. The house and adjoining structures are vacant now, but served as a residential care home for senior for many years.
"We're very concerned these people or their state of mind could inflict damage on themselves or others in the community," said Joe Dylewski, who lives in the new "Trellis" subdivision nextdoor.
The proposed facility, operated by a private company called "National Psychiatric Care and Rehabilitation Services" would house up to 16 patients at a time, for two to three weeks-- a transitional step the company calls "residential social rehabilitation."
NPCRS operates similar care centers in Sacramento and San Jose and gets many of its referral from Kaiser Permanente.
NPCRS claims no patients with a violent history, or current substance abusers, would be placed in the facility. Some could be medicated and all would be pre-screened.
They also say, if the county doesn't approve the land use permit, it could be in violation of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
"They're just getting additional tools to help with their mental health, but they're not aggressive," explained Daina Glasson, Regional Program Director for NPCRS. "They're not dangerous, They're not allowed to be registered sex offenders, they're not allowed to be active criminals. There's no danger to the people that we support in the program."
More than 200 people have a signed petition against putting the facility. Contra Costa County Zoning Administrator will hold a public hearing on the matter next Monday, October 15.
Walnut Creek residents oppose mental health care home