California Appeals Court Issues Key Anti-NIMBY Ruling

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
09/23/2013 -ATIN – A California state appeals court has sent a chilling message to the anti-addictions industry NIMBY forces, increasingly a potent array of allied municipal interests throughout the state, when last week the ninth circuit appeals bench issued a sharp ruling that sent a key Newport Beach case back for trial, throwing out what the ruling said was a deeply flawed previous summary judgment in favor of the city. Last week’s ruling should give pause to nearby jurisdictions from Malibu down the coast to neighboring Costa Mesa, many of which have been considering ways to restrict what admittedly has been rampant growth of Six-Bed Model treatment centers, as well as sober living operations, over the last 20 years up and down the California coastline. That growth has made Southern California a close second in size to South Florida as the nation’s largest “destination” addiction treatment services marketplace with clientele descending from all corners.

NIMBY Central

Home to hundreds of sober living and treatment operations, Newport Beach very likely has by far the densest concentration of addictions industry operations of any municipality in the nation, with much of that right smack in the middle of residential locales. About a decade ago, a virulent NIMBY ordinance aimed at the industry was passed. Centers like 54-bed Morningside Recovery filed suit in state court challenging the ordinance, while others, like Pacific Shores, went the federal court route. So key has the NIMBY fight become at Morningside that ultimately the lawyer handling the case for the center, Mary Helen Beatificato, took over the CEO post at the center. Last month, recognizing the corrosive effect of the 7-yr legal battle on the provider’s operation, Beatificato announced Morningside would be moving what remained of the center’s Newport Beach operations out of the city. Speaking to Treatment Magazine at the Moments of Change conference in Palm Beach, FL, Beatificato said the appeals ruling was harsh in its condemnation of the Newport Beach ordinance as blatantly discriminatory in targeting addictions and sober living operations. She said that 

the move out of Newport Beach – Morningside like many others has moved to neighboring Costa Mesa, which has also been preparing anti-center legislation – did not represent a white flag and that Morningside will continue to fight the Newport Beach ordinance to a successful conclusion.

NIMBY Forces Meeting in Sacramento

With 35 addiction treatment centers operating just within the city limits of Malibu – the “cure for addiction” Passages is the largest Malibu center, operating on a 10-acre campus with multiple residences, and is reputedly being shopped for sale currently – there is increasing coordination between municipalities on NIMBY. Several years ago there was even a big convention of the NIMBY forces held in Newport Beach. Late this month Malibu officials will be joining up with other localities in the state capitol of Sacramento, where they will be lobbying and looking for ways to restrict the huge growth of the Six-Bed Model. That model was never meant to apply to luxury for-profit addictions care but was instead passed to promote greater integration of the mentally-ill into ordinary society.  Of course this is not the first time Sacramento has been pressured to do something about the spread of addictions centers in residential neighborhoods, all to no avail. Passages founders, the Prentiss family, did not return emails asking for comment on a possible sale of the center.

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