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Friday, March 18, 2011

Citizen's Report From Last Night's Board of Adjustments Meeting

Guest Post by Fred Smullin

I am saddened to report that after a couple of hours of private debate, the Weber County Board of Adjustment announced that they voted 4-1 to deny the appeal of the current land owners and neighbors to the proposed Green Valley Academy (GVA) site.  I have since learned that the vote was actually 3-2 and the minutes will be adjusted to reflect that.  They ruled that, as currently defined, the GVA "application language" met the requirements of the AV-3 school definition.  It's important to note the distinction that only what GVA put on their application was allowed to be considered, not what the true intent of the facility was, or what their previous contradictory application said.  They used the words necessary to get the prize, not what GVA was really about.  All for a group that doesn't apparently own the property yet.

I feel for those impacted directly and wish them luck in however they choose to continue their battle.  I would encourage everyone to offer them your support as this was a tough loss for them and everyone in the valley.

I'll let the Ogden Valley Protection Counsel (OVPC) advise us on how to best support them next.  What we citizens can do is continue to recommend changes to our zoning to limit the impact of these institutions.  I'm somewhat skeptical after watching the proceedings.  There are too many angles that can be picked apart legally.  But, I am not ready to give up.  It just shows we have a lot of work to do and rushing changes through may create more gaps than are filled.

If GVA is built, we as citizens can be watchful.  The community can be the watch dog and if enough incidents and complaints are documented publicly, licenses can be revoked and facilities closed.  It takes a paper trail to reach that decision.

Likewise, parents research the internet leading up to the decision to contract GVA to modify the behavior of their child.  If public records exist online citing factual issues with GVA, it will have an influence on their recruiting efforts.  The greatest factor to their success is keeping hidden what parents don't want to hear.  So, it's up to the community to be diligent, hold them accountable, and report, report, report.

Please use the Valley Forum to voice your opinion and support for the residents that are impacted.


Danna said...

The following have been quoted from various sources concerning "Residential Therapeutic Treatment for youth".

Glen Zaugg - NATSAP President:
"In the last two years, the economic downturn in this country has hit many of our members particularly hard. Parents have had fewer options regarding funding sources, and consequently, more than a handful of programs have closed." (i.e. Mount Bachelor Academy)

Treatment Magazine:
"CRC's Youth Therapeutic boarding school leader Aspen Education has been hit by the credit crunch as parents are unable to access second mortgages and tuition loans to finance the huge cost of helping their children. CRC has admitted it has had major difficulty filling beds."

Tom Crote - Family Light:
"recommends against referring to or enrolling in any Aspen program due to what the closing of New Leaf of North Carolina says about the value system of the company."

Dr. Rod Hoevet - Clinical Psychologist:
"Illicit substance Abuse is an enormous problem in American mental health. On a daily basis I review patient records from large well respected mental health agencies. These records often will outline a heavy substance abuse and then, in the very same record diagnosis Bipolar or any number of other disorders. This is a no brainer. The DSM is explicit: you cannot diagnose any mental illness if it is otherwise explained by drug intoxication or WITHDRAWAL. This is reckless and unethical, which leads to unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments."

Alison Barkoff - Senior staff attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law: (i.e. Mount Bachelor)
"We feel very strongly that for-profit residential facilities are completely inappropriate for special education. They have been shown to be ineffective and commonly employ practices that do harm. But because the programs are privately run, what happens within their walls is largely a mystery. No one knows whether the programs succeed or fail."

Last summer when the OVPC conducted their work meeting at Oakley School, it was noted that their enrollment was not to full capacity plus every student had to be drug free for at least 3 months. I also heard Dr. Balmer declare the students of the Green Valley Academy would be the "Forest Gumps" of the world. Subsequently, I discovered in the Syracuse City minutes, that when Island View Residential Treatment Center first started there were over 10 calls a month to law enforcement. In 2010 the Chief of Police stated in a letter that they had received NO CALLS.

In my opinion from the information presented here, there are two major questions:
1. If the kids can't call the police, who is watching out for their rights?
2. What is to be done with a large building in the middle of a residential neighborhood with its massive sewer system and water company, when the business fails?


Greg Anderson said...

They will continue to run a water company and charge the locals for the water which should have stayed in private wells in the first place.