Mental-health facility’s location raises ire

Homeowners and parents of children attending a nearby elementary school who oppose a plan to relocate many county social services — including outpatient mental-health services — to an office complex in a San Mateo neighborhood, came up short in a bid to see the proposal axed Tuesday.

Instead, supervisors unanimously approved a 10-year lease with two five-year options for about 81,000 square feet of office space at 1900/2000 Alameda de las Pulgas.

The long-term lease helped the county negotiate a rent slightly below the average market rate and includes millions of dollars in upgrades and renovation to the building, said Steve Alms, county real property manager.

“I could not find any substantiated fact to prevent this lease from going forward,” said Supervisor Jerry Hill, whose district includes San Mateo.

After reviewing traffic and parking around the Alameda de las Pulgas location and the number of police calls to the current facility on 3080 LaSelva St. in San Mateo that houses the county’s central outpatient mental health services — two points of concern for residents and parents — Hill said he believed “fear of the unknown” was playing too large a role.

More than a dozen residents and parents of children who attend the nearby Carey School spoke out against the lease, saying it would lower property values, increase traffic in the area and potentially place children at risk.

To ameliorate resident and parent worries, the county agreed to move a bus stop, used by some of the mental-health patients, from in front of the school to about a couple of blocks away.

Health officials will also set up regular meetings with neighbors and must notify homeowners and the surrounding schools when and if the lease is changed to accommodate expanded services, said Supervisor Mark Church.

Social services plans to move into the Alameda de las Pulgas location this fall, said Beverly Thames, Health Department spokeswoman.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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