Malibu residents and city leaders plan to lobby state legislators to end the clustering of drug and alcohol treatment centers in Malibu. There are 34 licensed centers in the city.

By Olivia Damavandi / Staff Writer

Recent incidents have exasperated and convinced numerous residents that what is estimated to be a $100 million drug and alcohol rehabilitation industry operating within the City of Malibu is attracting individuals who pose a threat to community safety. Residents also complain that the centers are using loopholes to avoid patient number limitations, and city leaders say their hands are tied as far as any kind of enforcement.

Scott Tallal, president of the Trancas Highlands Homeowners Association, wrote in a letter to The Malibu Times last week that a Malibu rehab facility in Trancas Highlands was allegedly set on fire two weeks ago by one of its own patients who then verbally threatened to ignite the entire neighborhood. The patient escaped into Trancas Canyon and was found five hours later by Sheriff's deputies, Tallal wrote.

In addition to any kind of behavioral problems, the traffic generated by the clustering of centers' homes in residential neighborhoods also pose a threat, residents say.

A total of 34 licensed residential alcohol and drug rehab facilities currently exist within the City of Malibu, according to a list published on the Web site of the State of California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

Home to 13,000 people, Malibu has one licensed residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for every 810 or so residents, according to the Los Angeles Times. For Los Angeles County overall, the ratio is one center for every 58,100 people.

State law allows private homes with six beds or less to be occupied and used as private addiction treatment centers. There is no law that regulates how many rehab facilities may exist in any given neighborhood or city.

Most rehabs in Malibu charge at least $35,000 for a month of treatment, according to an earlier report conducted by Realtor and writer Rick Wallace. The rehabilitation facility Passages charges nearly $60,000 per month.

To avoid the six-beds per residence limitation, some treatment centers rent or purchase nearby homes to expand their business, a process known as "clustering."

"Basically what we end up with is a medical neighborhood and commercial businesses in our multifamily residences but there's nothing we can say about it," Ken Kearsley, Malibu resident and former city mayor, said Friday in a telephone interview. "The state doesn't even have to notify us if one's about to go in."

Kearsley said his several trips to the state Capitol to discuss the matter were fruitless. "We couldn't get any of our state legislators to even put a bill into the committee," he said.

The clustering of the rehab centers not only increases the amount of patients, but also the number of employees per facility, which residents say has caused a plethora of problems.

Passages Malibu on its Web site lists 56 professional employees (not counting cooks, housekeeping, landscaping or maintenance staff); Promises Treatment Center lists 38 professional employees (excluding support staff); Creative Care Inc and Malibu Recovery each list 26 professional staff; Cliffside Malibu lists 31 professional staff; Visions lists 40 professional staff; and Echo Malibu, a treatment center for adolescents, lists 33.

Industrial food service vehicles and other commercial vehicles servicing the centers clog the neighborhood and make it difficult for emergency vehicles to access them, Tallal said.

Mayor Andy Stern called the clustering of rehabs "terrible" and explained that the heightened employee count contributes to city pollution because the septic tanks utilized by most of the private homes are designed for occupancy by up to two parents and their children, and would not typically be used around the clock.

Employees at both the Promises and Passages facilities on Monday declined to comment on this story before hanging up on The Malibu Times.

Promises, however, issued the following statement in an e-mail on Tuesday.

"Promises tries to be good neighbors and [is] compliant with licensing requirements of alcohol and drug programs. It is Promises' goal to be a good neighbor and respect the needs of the community."

State-issued permits to the treatment centers are valid for two years during which the California Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs must make at least one onsite program visit to verify compliance with various regulations. However, residents say this once-every-two-year visit make it impossible to ensure that the rehabs are not housing more than the six patients allowed.

"Many of us run businesses out of our own homes, but if we each had upwards of 56 professional employees coming and going twenty-four-seven, we can't help but think that the city would immediately take action," Tallal said.

Tallal and other residents are asking the city to pass new regulations that would limit the number of employees who can work for any home-based business, and then apply that regulation to all local businesses operating on a residential property.

Residents are also requesting that the state Senate and Assembly pass new regulations that would allow a maximum of one six-bed rehab facility per square mile; prohibit rehab staff and patients from smoking at any facility located in a wildfire-prone area; restrict non-resident patients to rehab centers zoned for commercial-medical facilities; and require all rehabs to abide by the same regulations that apply to other commercial medical facilities.

As far as what the City of Malibu is doing to address the matter, City Manager Jim Thorsen said, "We've been working with our strategist in Sacramento and other cities to regulate how and where the rehabs are operated and implement some sensible land-use laws."

Local residents plan on formally addressing the city council at an upcoming meeting to take action.

This is a first in a series of stories on alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers operating within the City of Malibu.

Malibu drug and alcohol treatment centers

(from the State of California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs as of 12/8/2008)

PASSAGES 8

6390 MEADOWS COURT

Expiration Date: 09/30/2010

PASSAGES 9

6390 MEADOWS COURT

(REAR GUEST HOUSE)

Expiration Date: 09/30/2010

CLIFFSIDE MALIBU

30060 ANDROMEDA

Expiration Date: 06/30/2009

CREATIVE CARE,

5947 TRANCAS CANYON

Expiration Date: 12/31/2009

CREATIVE CARE,

5927 TRANCAS CANYON

Expiration Date: 02/28/2009

CREATIVE CARE, INC.

5909 TRANCAS CANYON

Expiration Date: 02/28/2009

CREATIVE CARE,

5941 TRANCAS CANYON

Expiration Date: 05/31/2010

PASSAGES NORTHEAST; FEDERAL RECOVERY

6428 - B MEADOWS

Expiration Date: 12/31/2009

PASSAGES EAST; FEDERAL RECOVERY

6439 (B) SYCAMORE

Expiration Date: 12/31/2009

GRASSHOPPER HOUSE, PASSAGES C

6439 SYCAMORE MEADOWS

Expiration Date: 08/31/2009

GRASSHOPPER HOUSE, LLC, PASSAGES

6428 MEADOWS COURT

Expiration Date: 07/31/2009

PASSAGES, GRASSHOPPER HOUSE, LLC

6375 MEADOWS COURT

Expiration Date:04/30/2009

PASSAGES; GRASSHOPPER HOUSE,

6447 SYCAMORE MEADOWS

Expiration Date: 05/31/2009

PASSAGES VISTA HOUSE; GRASSHOPPER HOUSE,

6380 MEADOWS COURT

Expiration Date: 12/31/2009

SUMMIT CENTERS; HENRY CAMP POST

1807 LATIGO ROAD

Expiration Date: 01/31/2010

MALIBU HORIZON CORP.

265 SOUTH WESTLAKE BOULEVARD

Expiration Date: 12/31/2008

MALIBU HORIZON CORPORATION

33239 MULHOLLAND HIGHWAY

Expiration Date: 10/31/2009

AVALON RANCH MALIBU LIGHTHOUSE

12517 YERBA BUENA

Expiration Date: 03/31/2010

SUMMIT MALIBU

MALIBU LIGHTHOUSE TREATMENT

31544 ANACAPA VIEW DRIVE

Expiration Date 05/31/2010

MARSHAK CLINIC, LLC

1752 CORRAL CANYON ROAD

Expiration Date: 06/30/2009

PROMISES TREATMENT IIProgram ; PROMAL2, INC.

20723 ROCKCROFT DRIVE

Expiration Date 12/31/2010

PROMAL4, INC., D.B.A. PROMISES PROMAL4, INC.

20729 ROCKCROFT DRIVE

Expiration Date: 12/31/2010

THE RENAISSANCE BEACH HOUSE

RENAISSANCE RECOVERY SERVICES, LLC

11852 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY

Expiration Date: 11/30/2010

THE RENAISSANCE

RENAISSANCE RECOVERY SERVICES, LLC

4322 ESCONDIDO DRIVE

Expiration Date: 06/30/2009

LA VENTANA, AN EXTENDED CARE CENTER

RYLIST, INC. (D.B.A. LA VENTANA, AN EXTENDED CARE CENTER)

31341 MULHOLLAND HIGHWAY

Expiration Date: 07/31/2009

STONE EAGLE RETREAT, INC.

1665 ENCINAL CANYON DRIVE

Expiration Date: 05/31/2009

SUNSET MALIBU

30042 ANDROMEDA LANE

Expiration Date: 01/31/2010

THE CANYON AT GALAHAD

THE CANYON AT PEACE PARK

6012 GALAHAD

Expiration Date: 9/30/2010

THE CANYON AT PEACE PARK

2890 KANAN DUME ROAD

Expiration Date: 05/31/2010

THE CANYON AT PEACE PARK

2900 KANAN DUME ROAD

Expiration Date: 05/31/2010

MILESTONES RANCH MALIBU

THE RANCH-MALIBU CALIFORNIA, LLC

200 VERA CANYON ROAD

Expiration Date: 11/30/2009

MILESTONES RANCH MALIBU

THE RANCH-MALIBU CALIFORNIA, LLC

221 VERA CANYON ROAD

Expiration Date: 11/30/2009

PROMISES RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTERS

WESTSIDE SOBER LIVING CENTERS, INC.

20725 ROCKCROFT DRIVE

Expiration Date: 12/31/2010

PROMISES RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTERS

WESTSIDE SOBER LIVING CENTERS, INC.

20786 COOL OAK WAY

Expiration Date: 12/31/2010

(4) comments

anonymous

Wellwellwell, how did you do in treatment? Was it a solid treatment program? What made your parents want to sue? Thanks in advance for your response--I'm considering that facility for a loved one.

anonymous

to cb - got to pass on the old saying about how the one who calls out the fart is usually the guilty fart themselves!How about considering the drop out rate of attendees in the rehabs such as the person recently in our headlines who attempted armed robbery (knife wielding) at the Pt. Dume pharmacy and then holed up in the Malibu Riviera motel? That nicely wraps up your concerns and places them squarely right back in the rehab situation.There was a standoff, requiring the law enforcement and traffic problems.

anonymous

there is a "get off my lawn" cranky old fart tone to most of the complaints about rehab in Malibu. I have lived here for 30 years and have never even noticed one. there are three on our street! There is a profound denial to the seriousness of drug addiction in our community and across the nation. It is not the rehab patients we need to worry about-- its those people who are using drugs and driving, or offering them to our kids, or working with power tools for that matter.

anonymous

The last time I checked Malibu is still part of the United States...land of the free...hopefully we haven't lost all our compassion for helping others that are in need...even in an area where selfishness runs rampid.

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