Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
County Supervisors Approves Expansion of Highland Valley Ranch Rehabilitation Facility
County Supervisors rejected an appeal from a group of residents in Ramona who oppose an expansion of a nearby treatment facility for people with severe brain injuries.
The Highland Valley Ranch Rehabilitation facility houses 13 to 14 patients inside its 13,000 square foot facility, located on Highland Valley Road in Ramona. Under the current proposal, the size of the facility would go from 13,000 square-feet to 35,000. And, the number of occupants would also increase, from 13 to 54.
But residents have been unhappy with the proposal since learning of the plans nearly eight years. They claim the facility will bring traffic, contaminate the local water supply, and possibly house sex offenders -- one such offender lives at another facility owned by the applicant Kevin O'Connor.
At todays' hearing, Richard Grunow, from the County's Planning and Land Use Department addressed those concerns. For example, the claim that the facility would result in 204 daily car trips; Grunow said it the number of trips is 156 not 204, that the lights on the parking lot would be too bright; Grunow said no lights would shine, and finally that the facility would contaminate the water supply; Grunow said new the facility included a "reverse osmosis" filtration system.
And yet, despite the clarifications, some supervisors sided with the residents.
Dianne Jacob and Pam Slater-Price said a larger facility wouldn't jibe with the surrounding neighborhood. "The civic use is not in harmony with the low populated density in the surrounding area which is single-family," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "This project vastly expands the civic use in this single-family community. it is out of character with this quiet community."
The three remaining supervisors disagreed.
"This is a good spot for this kind of facility," said Supervisor Bill Horn. "These are not prisoners. They are not on probation. They just happen to have a damaged cranium that requires that they have help."
The Supervisors voted 3-to-2 to deny the appeal.
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