A mental hospital is set to break ground on the corner of Baseline and Greenfield this summer. It will be located within yards of a playground area at Pioneer Elementary School, and the parent drop-off zone will be next door to this facility. This "deal" has been in the works for about a year. The Town of Gilbert posted a sign on the property in late March 2013. Not surprisingly, parents went ballistic. How many other schools are near this proposed facility?
Unfortunately, the Town Council of 2008 rezoned this property from Shopping Center to General Commercial, which includes "hospitals." It doesn’t specify that "mental hospitals" should be excluded. Because the developer, Springstone Behavioral Health Hospital, is legally within the zoning requirements, their deal with the owners of the property, LeSeuer Investments, didn’t create an issue with the Town’s staff…..until recently.
Had the previous Council realized that a mental hospital would be built next to an elementary school, they most likely would have reworded the zoning language. I wouldn’t be surprised if today’s Town Council is busily fixing this problem right now all over Gilbert.
But that does nothing to ensure the health and safety of children who are attending Pioneer Elementary.
When government is involved, their hands are tied: There’s nothing the Council can do. There’s nothing the Gilbert School Board can do. There’s nothing LeSeuer wants to do. There’s little that Springstone is willing to do.
Well…..the parents of Pioneer Elementary and the residents surrounding the school have news for them:
THEIR HANDS AREN’T TIED!
Here is their message:
What do you need to know? The Town of Gilbert has approved Saguaro Springs, a 72-bed mental health hospital, to be built right next to Pioneer Elementary – on the South side of Baseline. The playground area at Pioneer Elementary School and the parent drop-off zone will be next door to this facility. In the approved design, the mental hospital’s western barrier merely consists of trees and stones.
The facility will provide service to patients suffering from depression, anxiety, hallucinations, anger, impulse control issues, substance abuse, and panic attacks. In light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the location seems incredibly troublesome to many since individuals with the same mental illness that shooter Adam Lanza suffered from may be housed at Saguaro Springs. Also, this facility will be both an inpatient and outpatient facility, increasing traffic substantially in the area.
Everyone is in agreement that mental health services are greatly needed. But, if you don’t feel comfortable with this type of facility right next door to an elementary school, PLEASE voice your concerns. According to the current zoning code, even state appointed mental health hospitals may be built right next door to any school.
What can you do?
For up to the minute and comprehensive information, go to the Facebook page Stop Saguaro Springs. Also:
Attend the special meeting to discuss this matter scheduled for Monday, April 29th.The Meeting starts at 5:30pm in Council Chambers located at 50 E. Civic Center Drive, Gilbert, AZ 85296.
PLEASE. Encourage Families to attend together to show the children that will be affected.
Call the Buyer and Seller and ask them to cancel this transaction.
a. Buyer- Call Springstone’s Chief Development Officer Dan Beuerline. His phone number is 502-400-8486.
Please ask him to not go through with this contract, to dissolve their intent and find a different location to build the facility.
b. Contact the sellers and ask them to STOP this transaction as it has not closed!
Ty LeSueur LeSueur Investments 480-424-3400 firstname.lastname@example.org
Call and/or email local media to express your concern. We need to let people know what is going on. There needs to be enough interest in this to get the coverage that will be necessary if we hope to stop this from going through.
a. NBC Phoenix: email@example.com or (602) 444-1212
b. Arizona Republic: firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-6397
c. CBS Phoenix: email@example.com or (602) 650-0711
d. ABC Phoenix: firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 685-6397
e. FOX Phoenix: email@example.com or (602) 262-5109
f. 550 AM Mike Broomhead: firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 374-6120 – or, live broadcast at (602) 260-KFYI.
Please send at least a group email to the media email addresses above so that this issue is heard and discussed.
For more information, and to view current media coverage, please see the following links:
NBC 12 News:
CBS 5 Video:
ABC 15 News