CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) --A proposal to build a behavioral health facility in Clovis is generating some controversy. The site is now a vacant field in an industrial area north of Highway 168, west of Clovis Avenue and south of Alluvial. City Planner Bryan Araki said it's relatively isolated from homes and schools.
"There is a natural buffer, Dry Creek Channel, which will have a fence around it and of course all of their open spaces will have fences as well."
That's not reassuring to residents like Randall Gray who lives in a gated subdivision just west of the project.
"We are upset about neighborhood safety and property values being damaged, and we are upset about our way of life our peaceful neighborhood being crashed."
Manuel Olivera lives in a condominium complex just east of the proposed hospital.
"It's always not in my backyard, but I know all of us are very concerned about a mental health facility in our neighborhood."
The $40-million facility would be almost 60,000 square feet owned and operated by Universal Health Services. They own 40 hospitals in the United States and Britain. They have a similar facility in the Sacramento area which is a hospital, not an institution. Patients covered by private insurance, medicare, medical, will be treated for behavioral issues. The average stay in such facilities is about a week.
Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea has been a vocal advocate for mental health treatment in the county but said the company will have to sell the community on its plan.
"They have a good record, but they have to do the work that is necessary to make the community comfortable that they can be located in and around their neighborhoods."
The Clovis Planning Department is waiting for the public's input before weighing in on the project.
"At this point, there's no recommendation made. We are going to wait until we hear from the neighbors tonight at the informational meeting that way we could address concerns and comments," said Araki.
Members of the public will be at the hearing. The next stop is a hearing before the Clovis Planning Commission next week. The proposal could go before the Clovis City Council early next month. If approved construction would begin in the next year or two and the facility would provide about 200 jobs.