Gilbert Planning Commission SANA

Gilbert Planning Commission members like the look of the proposed behavioral clinic for seniors that would be built near Mercy Road and 156th Street. The acute treatment facility would provide 24 beds for patients over the age of 55 who suffer from severe mental problems. 

A 24-bed psychiatric hospital for older patients wants to set up shop south of Mercy Road by 156th Street near existing medical offices.

Sana Behavioral Hospital would be a 24-hour acute treatment facility for patients 55 and older with psychiatric disorders.

“It is a secured facility,” said senior planner Amy Temes at last week’s Planning Commission study session.

Temes said the proposed 16,400-square-foot hospital on 3.79 acres would need a conditional use permit to operate.  

The site is located within the Val Vista Medical Growth Area, which includes Mercy Gilbert Medical Center. 

Since its construction in 2006, the medical center has spurred growth in medical offices and medical research and rehabilitation/care facilities within the area, according to staff.

Two access points are proposed for Sana: one-off Mercy Drive and a second off the 156th Street alignment along the western boundary of the site.

Sana’s location is between the Wellspring Rehabilitation facility to the southwest and an approved senior-assisted living facility, the Abbington at Gilbert, to the northeast. 

Commissioner David Cavenee asked if there was any neighborhood feedback on the project.

Temes noted the owner of the site lived in the neighborhood and at this point, no one in the area reached out about the proposal.

Staff said immediate neighbors – including Wellspring, Abbington and the medical center – supported the project and face-to-face meetings with neighbors within 300 feet of the project were conducted and their concerns mitigated.

The one-story hospital would treat disorders and may include cognitive impairment and co-morbid medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis, according to the staff report.

The facility won’t provide in-patient treatment of pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, kleptomania or pyromania as defined under state and federal laws, the report stated.

Patients would be admitted either on a voluntary or involuntary basis. Services include sensory stimulation, therapeutic and recreational activities. 

The average length of stay would be 12 days with patients coming from acute care hospitals, skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities. 

Patients would be admitted periodically seven days a week via non-emergent transportation with the idea of discharging them to home, skilled nursing, or an assisted living facility with resources for continued care. 

Staffing at the hospital would include nurses, social workers, activities personnel, occupational therapist, physical therapist and speech therapist. 

They would work under the direction of a psychiatrist with additional physicians consulted when the need arises.

Temes said an 8,000-square-foot building also was proposed on the east side of the site for the future and was not part of the current application.  

Chairman Brian Andersen liked the building’s look and directed staff to put the request on a future consent agenda.

To approve a conditional use permit, the commission must report four findings of fact were been met, according to staff. 

The findings include the proposed use will not be detrimental to the health, safety or general welfare of people living or working in the vicinity, to adjacent properties, to the neighborhood or to the public in general.

According to the applicant GPS Properties, patients would not be able to freely leave the building and interior doors would be only accessible via keycard.  Patients would not be allowed outside unattended and be in a fully enclosed outdoor space.

The building layout and cameras also would ensure patients are always under supervision. Additionally, an 8-foot-tall fence was proposed for the south and east side of the property where homes are located.