Veterans, Neighbors Clash Over Proposed VA Facility

New Psychiatric Facility Would Provide Help To Veterans

Nearly 150 people packed the Mission Hills Town Council meeting Thursday night to hear the Veterans Administration proposal to put a psychiatric facility at the now vacant Thomas Jefferson School of Law building in Old Town.

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The new facility would provide single room residences for 40 veterans suffering from the emotional stresses of their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Robert Smith presented the plan which he said is particularly necessary in the San Diego area as it has the largest population of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the nation at 28,000.

Several parents expressed concerns at Thursday night’s meeting as 250 children now attend the new Old Town Academy which is located right across the street.

“These are veterans. They have suffered a tremendous amount of trauma in their lives, but they don’t know where they are. And, they’re trying to treat these people across the street from all these students? There’s a lot of risk,” parent Ethan Berblinger said.

The San Diego City Council is expected to make a decision on whether to issue a Conditional Use Permit to allow the project to move forward in the next couple of months.

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