Woodlake Residents File Lawsuit to Halt Mental Hospital

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A group of residents in the Woodlake neighborhood of North Sacramento have filed a lawsuit claiming that the Sacramento City Council and the Mayor didn’t follow proper environmental guidelines in approving the construction of a mental hospital in the area.

The group calling itself Woodlake Neighbors Creating Transparency say city planners used 8-year-old environmental guidelines in approving the project, even though the 5 acre site is zoned for businesses.

They say a mental hospital open 24 hours a day is not the same as a business.

The group worries about mentally ill clients walking through their neighborhood to the nearest light rail station, even though the site is set apart from the residential neighborhood by Highway 160.

They admit that their suit is based only on environmental concerns like several endangered species on the site and the effect the project will have on natural water drainage.  The group admits that the suit is designed to delay the project so that their other concerns are addressed.

The city attorney’s office said before the suit that the project is legally sound.  City officials say state law prevents them from halting a hospital project just because it caters to the mentally ill.

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