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Residential rehab facility in Eaton Canyon is denied application to continue operating

January 25, 2011 |  4:20 pm

Map of Eaton Canyon Treatment Center at 3323 Fairpoint Street in unincorporated Pasadena. Los Angeles County supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to deny the request of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center to continue operating in an unincorporated residential neighborhood of Pasadena.

Many neighbors of the Eaton Canyon Treatment Center, at 3323 Fairpoint St., opposed the center’s 20-bed operation. They cited problems with vandalism, mail and trash can theft, increased traffic and patients wandering outside facility grounds. They argued it was inappropriate for a 20-bed residential rehab center to operate in a neighborhood of single-family homes.

The treatment center defended its operations and asserted that its operations do not disrupt the neighborhood.

Click to read the county documents “The public comments repeatedly assert generalized fears of people with disabilities in recovery without any evidence of problems from the home in the neighborhood,” lawyer Kim Savage wrote to the county on the rehab center’s behalf.

The rehab center has operated since 2003, first operating at 12 beds and then expanding in 2007 to 20 beds.

During that time, its owners did not seek a special permit to operate an “adult residential facility” by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning. An “adult residential facility” is defined as any facility that provides 24-hour-a-day non-medical care and supervision to adults.

County officials were alerted to the facility’s unpermitted operations in 2008. Only after it was faced with a notice of violating county rules did the rehab center seek county permission.

Tyler Montgomery, a planner with the county Department of Regional Planning, said the county counsel’s office will draft a formal letter informing the rehab center of its denial. That letter will need to be approved by another vote of the supervisors.

Montgomery said the rehab center can comply with the supervisors’ vote by stopping on-site treatment of patients, which would make the center a “sober-living facility,” where recovering alcoholics and drug addicts live together in a single-family unit.

Another option is for the rehab center to continue offering 24-hour-a-day treatment but to reduce its capacity to six or fewer residents, Montgomery said.

Refusal to comply with the county’s ruling could result in referral of the case to the district attorney’s office for a criminal investigation.

The facility is located in a predominantly residential neighborhood of single-family homes in the Kinneloa Mesa neighborhood, in the foothills south of the San Gabriel Mountains and just north of the Eaton Canyon Park Golf Course.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration