Muir Woods Teen Treatment Center Expansion News & Info
2-10-22: BZA HAS DENIED MUIR WOOD SKILLMAN EXPANSION REQUEST on 4-0 vote
4-4-22: Sonoma County Code Enforcement has issued Muir Wood a Code Violation for operation of 2 Residential Treatment Centers on one parcel at 900 Lohrman Ln., Petaluma. "a single facility would remain active. The other facility will not be used".
5-23-22: Muir Wood has acquired an additional property at 1336 Skillman Ln., Petaluma. "Skillman East" is licensed by CDSS as Group Home facility #496890083 for 6 clients. See C D S S Facility Detail 496890083
7-21-22: Muir Wood has acquired an additional property at 501 Sonoma Mountain Rd, Petaluma. "Sonoma Mountain" is licensed by CDSS as Group Home facility #496890088 for 6 clients. See C D S S Facility Detail 496890088
8-8-23: Muir Wood has acquired an additional property at 1030 Thompson Ln., Petaluma. "Thompson Ranch" is licensed by CDSS as Group Home facility #496890100 for 6 clients. See C D S S Facility Detail 496890100 . Since purchase date 0f 6/1/23, Muir Wood has incurred 4 Sonoma County Building Violations. See Muir Wood Thompson History.
NOTICE OF SONOMA COUNTY BOARD OF ZONING ADJUSTMENTS ZOOM PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER A USE PERMIT FOR A LARGE RESIDENTAL COMMUNITY CARE FACILITY at 1743 Skillman Lane, Petaluma
Project Applicant, Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services - Scott Sowle
The Board of Zoning Adjustments will hold a public hearing to consider this item on Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 1:00 pm.
Neighbor Concerns Include
Project Description - 1743 Skillman Lane Expansion Proposal
Expansion of existing residential community-care
facility at 1743 Skillman Lane, Petaluma, from 6 beds to 10 to support increasing the number of boys aged 12-17
participating in their program. This facility is a separate facility from that which
exists at 1733 Skillman Lane, which was approved under UPE14-0018 for 10 beds.
Sonoma County Planning File Number: UPE20-0008
Sheriff Log of Muir Woods 2013-January 2022 shows 197 calls to Muir Wood Skillman Lane Facilities, including 49 documented runaways from 2014 to January 2022.
California Community Care Facilities Act section 1538.7 states:
Lack of Supervision
An incident occurred on the 04/01/19 and 04/02/19 in which at least six residents had tattooed each other:
There have been 2 incidents reported to CDSS alleging sexual misconduct at Muir Wood 1733 Skillman facility:
Multiple Facilities Bring Huge Profits
Muir Wood currently has 11 residential teen treatment facilities in the West Petaluma area with a total of 70 patients:
According to RehabReviews.com, Muir Wood Teen Treatment costs $33,000 for 30 days per resident.
With 70 patients at $33,000 per month per patient, Scott Sowle's Muir Wood Petaluma Treatment Centers could generate up to $2.3 million per month.
Overuse of Facilities
As a 6-bed residential teen treatment center, 1744 Skillman facility is allowed to operate in Sonoma County Residential Zoning without use permit. See Sonoma County allowed Land Uses - Residential Community Care .
In fact, the 1744 Skillman facility is described as "Campus" by Muir Wood. Clients from adjacent 1733 Skilman use the facility, and clients are bussed there every day from Muir Wood "Satellite" bedroom facilities, such as "Skillman East", for all activities. Many more than 6 residents can be seen on a daily basis on the porch, playing sports, lining up at the Learning Center.
The "Campus" includes the "Jennifer Golick Family Learning Center", a school "fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)". Sonoma County requires a use permit for all schools. The "Jennifer Golick Family Learning Center" has no use permit. See Sonoma County allowed Land Uses - Schools .
Overconcentration of Facilities
California Community Care Facilities Act 1520.5 states:
(b) As used in this section, "overconcentration" means that if a new license is issued, there will be residential facilities that are separated by a distance of 300 feet or less, as measured from any point upon the outside walls of the structures housing those facilities.
The Skillman Lane facilities are adjacent, with a 148 foot separation of outside walls of the structures housing those facilities.
The 2 Skillman facilities look like one big facility, operate as one big facility with 16 patients.
Scott Sowle's Orange County Disaster: Newport Academy, as reported by Orange County Register, January 17, 2020:
"Police sirens and the incidents that prompt them have become facts of life in Orange Park Acres, neighbors said, now that Newport Academy has grown to own 10 local homes for troubled teens
From 2009 through 2015, Newport Academy, under Scott Sowle as Executive Director, had two homes in Orange Park Acres, each housing six residents, the maximum allowed without a special permit. In 2015, Newport Academy asked the city of Orange for permission to double the number of kids allowed in one house, to 12, and add two more in the other house, to 8. The city declined. "In a residential area, you can have a facility like that with only six people," said Leslie Roseberry, the city's planning manager, at the time. "If they were going to find another house at another location, they would be entitled to have six residents there."
That's exactly what Newport Academy did. The state issued licenses to two more Newport Academy houses, each for six residents, in 2016. Two more were licensed in 2018 and two more, again, in 2019. Also, two more licenses are pending. If all were licensed, that would bring the total number of Newport Academy homes in Orange Park Acres to 11, serving up to 66 children. At a cost of more than $1,000 per child, per day, 11 homes could generate revenue of about $2 million per month. A typical stay runs 60 to 90 days.
Since 2017, local police and sheriff departments responded to more than 200 emergency calls connected to Newport Academy addresses in Orange Park Acres. These included more than 40 reports involving "missing juveniles," or runaways; and 17 calls for minors posing a danger to themselves or others, resulting in involuntary holds, according to data from the Orange Police Department and Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Teens running away from Newport Academy homes in Orange Park Acres have been found hiding in foliage, behind garages, wandering at night in dark and dangerous streets, neighbors said. Some have appeared on front porches at the crack of dawn, beseeching neighbors to help them escape.
Of the 204 emergency calls examined, more than 20 involved mental health crises, including at least three attempted suicides. There were two reports of lewd conduct involving minors, as well as reports of an assault, battery and burglaries, according to the data.
Neighbors say Newport Academy is clearly a business, and businesses aren't supposed to operate in residential neighborhoods."
For more information see: Orange County Register January 17, 2020 - Newport Academy
Coming to a neighborhood near you, Muir Wood Riverside expansion: Riverside - The Press-Enterprise - October 4, 2023
By Tobias and Michelle Young, from letter to Mr. Wick, David Rabbitt, and Planning Staff:
...Our family and concerned neighbors have carefully considered the background of the Muir Wood facility on Skillman Lane in Petaluma. The more information we have gathered, the more concerned we are about our safety and the impact of the treatment center. With the information at hand so far, we are asking Permit Sonoma to deny the proposed Muir Wood expansion. We are also asking Permit Sonoma, as required under its conditions, to revoke Muir Wood's prior use permit based on violating its conditions and constituting a nuisance...
Use Permit Violations
Community Care Licensing Division Complaint Hotline
Board of Zoning Adjustments Approval of UPE14-0018 1733 Skillman "The establishment, maintenance or operation of the use for which application is made will not, under the circumstances of this particular case, be detrimental to the health, safety, peace, comfort and general welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood of such use, nor be detrimental or injurious to property and improvements in the neighborhood or the general welfare of the area"
Petaluma Argus Courrier 2-10-22 - Rural Petaluma neighborhood fighting juvenile treatment center expansion
email Skillman Neighbors : email@example.com