The proposed Youth Regional Treatment Center will complement the DQ University campus and provide opportunities for coordination with substance abuse programs in the County and at UC-Davis. The facility would provide needed services for Indian youths throughout Northern California, who currently travel out of state to obtain treatment. In addition, the center would create 70 full-time, permanent jobs and demand for goods and services, benefiting the local economy. The preliminary analysis provided identifies several potential environment impacts associated with the proposal, but these can be mitigated and/or minimized through appropriate site design and engineering.
On February 9, 2011, DHHS made a presentation to the local community at the West Plainfield Fire Station, to provide information regarding the proposed YRTC and to accept public input.
On March 1, 2011, DHHS provided a presentation to the Board of Supervisors regarding the proposed YRTC at DQ University. At the conclusion of the presentation, the Board of Supervisors directed planning staff to provide analysis of the proposed YRTC and to report back with their findings.
DHHS is proposing to acquire 12 acres of land located north of County Road 31, east of the intersection with County Road 93A. The site is generally located about two miles west of the Yolo County Airport, between the Cities of Davis and Winters (Attachment A).
The site would be developed as a Youth Regional Treatment Center, providing chemical dependency treatment for American Indian and Alaskan Native youths (between the ages of 12 and 17) within a residential setting. There are currently 12 YRTCs located throughout the country. The nearest facilities are located near Spokane, Washington; and Reno, Nevada. In 1992, the US Congress authorized the development of two new YRTCs: one in Northern California and one in Southern California. The proposed facility at DQ University would provide services to Northern California. The second YRTC is proposed near Hemet in Riverside County.
The facility would be located in the southwest corner of the existing DQ University campus. The land is currently leased and farmed in field crops (Attachment B). The proposed treatment center would be modeled after the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations in Spokane (Attachment C). It would include 32 beds (16 male, 16 female – including six beds for close observation) and five family suites, to serve approximately 100 youths annually.
Buildings would be constructed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification standards. They would be built in accordance with Federal requirements, including prevailing wages. The proposed development budget for the project is $17.6 million, comprised as follows: $1.0 million for planning; $1.4 million for design; and $15.2 million for construction. DHHS hopes to complete and open the new facility by mid-2014.
The treatment center is projected to require an annual operating budget of $4.5 million, including 70 full-time staff, as follows: 1 certified psychiatrist, 1 psychiatric nurse practitioner, 10 registered nurses, 10 mental health care providers, 3 cultural advisors/counselors, 3 credentialed teachers, 2 managers, 4 administrative support, 23 resident assistants, and 11 housekeeping and food service staff. Hiring qualified staff has been an ongoing challenge for other YRTCs. DHHS expects that it may be easier to recruit staff in Yolo County because of UC-Davis and the greater access to local mental health care providers.
According to DHHS, there are 5,000 California youth who require the services that would be offered by the YRTC. However, only two percent actually receive treatment. The need is significant. Participants rely on referral from Native Health Boards, who evaluate the needs of each client. Currently, patients must be referred to out-of-state contract facilities, which make it difficult for families to participate in the treatment.
The average duration of stay for each client would be three to six months. Treatment centers do not admit youth who have been charged with or convicted of violent crimes. Clients of the YRTC follow a strict daily schedule, are monitored 24-hours per day, seven days per week, and are not allowed to leave the facilities unescorted. Patients who wish to leave can do so voluntarily; arrangements are made to transport the youth back home following discharge. Clients are not discharged into the community.
Treatment consists of a modified 12-step method, consistent with traditional Indian culture, combined with state-of-the art Western psychiatry. A team of mental health care professionals, medical providers, and traditional healers work holistically to treat the whole person. They integrate several effective treatment-models, recognizing that effective treatment must address the client’s mental health, home environment, and family relationships. Every local Native Health Board has a substance abuse program, so that when the clients go back home, they will receive follow-up care. Clients who reach the age of authority after leaving the YRTC have access to adult treatment programs.
The next step in the process is for DHHS to negotiate with the Board of Trustees for DQ University. If DQ University issues a Letter of Reversion, then funds would be transferred to the US General Services Administration for the acquisition. The purchase usually takes 60 days to complete. Once the land has been acquired, site planning and buildings plans will begin to be developed.
The following is a brief analysis of the site. Major environmental issues identified include the following:
• Loss of 12 acres of prime farmland
• Potential impact on adjoining agricultural operations to the west
• Loss of 12 acres of Swainson’s hawk foraging habitat, although mitigation is not federally required
• Location within a 100-year flood zone
• Potential conflict with Climate Action Plan, depending on net greenhouse gas emissions
The loss of farmland and foraging habitat is unavoidable, but could be addressed through mitigation, if DHHS were willing to do so. All other issues could be addressed through coordinated site design and engineering.
There are no scenic highways or vistas that would be affected by the proposed project. The facility would generate light and glare; however, these impacts could be minimized with proper lighting and site design.
The project would convert 12 acres of farmland to development. On-site soils are Capay Silty Clay and Tehama Loam, both of which are Class II, with Storie Indices of 50 and 72, respectively. They would be considered prime farmland. The site is not under a Williamson Act contract.
The site is bordered on three sides by active farmland, all in row crops. Fields to the north and east would be owned by the Federal government, which would likely accept any secondary impacts to agricultural spraying caused by the facility. However, there would be potential impacts to the adjoining privately-owned field to the west, unless the site design incorporates appropriate buffers.
Although the project would result in vehicle trips that would contribute to cumulative air quality impacts, it would not conflict with adopted standards.
The project would result in the permanent loss of 12 acres of Swainson’s hawk foraging habitat. While Swainson’s hawk is listed as "threatened" under the California Endangered Species Act (ESA), it is not listed on the active Federal ESA list and would not require mitigation under US Fish and Wildlife standards. The project would not affect riparian habitat or other natural communities, as the site is actively farmed.
There are no known historical, archaeological, or paleontological resources on site. Artifacts could be discovered during the construction process, but could be addressed through standard avoidance and consultation processes.
The proposed site is not located within a significant seismic or earthquake zone. The terrain is flat and is not subject to landslides or substantial erosion. Soils generally have slow permeability, and moderate to high shrink-swell potential. These conditions can be addressed through appropriate engineering.
The facility would have the potential to generate greenhouse gas emissions. Those emissions would be partly offset by the conversion of farmland, depending on the predominant crops grown. Construction to LEED Silver standards may also significantly reduce emissions; however, absent any specific analysis it is uncertain whether the project would be consistent with the Climate Action Plan.
The site is not located within a high fire hazard zone. Fire response would be provided by the West Plainfield Fire District. The site is located within two miles of the Yolo County Airport, but is outside of the designated Airspace and Overflight Zone (Attachment D). The facility would likely contain low-level hazardous materials, but would not be located within one-quarter mile of an existing school.
Drainage patterns would be altered to accommodate on-site storm water detention. If storm water detention is properly designed, there would be no increase in surface runoff off-site. The facility would rely on ground water, which may be all or partially offset by the cessation of farming activities. The proposed site would be located within a 100-year floodplain (Attachment E). Flooding in this area is generally shallow and could be addressed by elevating structures. Site design would have to ensure that the project would not increase the depth and/or extent of flooding off-site.
The facility would not divide or affect an established community. The project is consistent with the 2030 Yolo County General Plan, which has designated the site as PQP (Public/Quasi-Public). The PQP designation allows for a range of uses, including public/ governmental offices, schools, community and/or civic uses, and related infrastructure.
The proposed project would be located in an agricultural area, where noise levels are allowed up to 80 dBA. It is unlikely to exceed County noise standards, or increase ambient noise levels. Given projected traffic volumes on County Road 31, and the distance to the Yolo County Airport, the site would not expose employees and/or clients to excessive noise.
The project would not displace existing housing. It would induce growth through the creation of 70 full-time jobs. As no on-site housing would be provided, employees would likely live in nearby cities such as Davis, Woodland, Winters, or Dixon.
The site is located within the West Plainfield Fire District and the Winters School District. Law enforcement would be provided by Yolo County. There is the potential for contracted and/or shared services between the YRTC and the County.
An encroachment permit would be required from the County Planning and Public Works Department to obtain access for the driveway and entrance to the site from County Road 31. The permit would address any road safety design improvements that would be required. Road 31 is classified as a Major Two-Lane Road in the 2030 General Plan. A traffic Level of Service (LOS) D is acceptable. Road 31 is currently operating at LOS C. The proposed facility would not change the LOS.
The proposed location would have access to the existing Vacaville/Winters/Davis Yolobus route, which runs eight bus trips per weekday and six trips on Saturday. The site could also access the existing Class II bike lane on Road 31. In addition, the Yolo County Airport would be located two miles away for any employees and/or clients desiring air transport.
The site would develop new on on-site water wells, wastewater facilities, and storm water detention. These would be required to meet Federal Clean Water Act standards and requirements.