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Proposed Halfway House in Watsonville

I have been informed that the property at 19 Madison Street is being converted from an apartment house to a halfway house. No public disclosure was made and no public discussion was held for neighborhood residents. The building (which is already being worked on) is right next to the First Christian Church where every day there are all kinds of kids going to after school activities and homework assistance. What kind of halfway house it being proposed. A neighborhood 
resident called the City of Watsonville and was told they don't know anything about it, but that it is probably OK The property owner claims he has permission from the city. Residents that live in the area want answers from the city. Is it a halfway house for felons, sex deviates, drug addicts, people on parole?? 
Currently petitions are being made ready for signatures to protest this 
conversion. By the way, the area of this property is very close to Minte White and E A Hall schools. Even the PVUSD should have been notified and been given the opportunity to weigh in on 
this halfway house. City of Watsonville and the property owner, Chuck Allen owe answers to residents of the area. 
sweetcakes October 31, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Isn't your father the council member representative for Madison Street? Why isn't he addressing this issue. It is his responsibility to address the issue. In addition, why hasn't Dodge addressed the continuing issue of peddlers breaking the law every day by pushing their carts (selling junk food) up next to the schools during school hours and breaking city code (the code specifically states no selling between the hours of 7AM-5PM) Our neighborhood is trashed every day and Daniel Dodge never responds to residents complaints about it. Why does the city make laws (codes) and then never enforces them. Ask you dad about that !
Cathy P. November 01, 2013 at 07:53 PM
@sweetcakes: looks like DD Jr deleted his comment. What can the rest of us do to help?
Sylvia Lazo November 01, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Does anyone know who exactly lived in that 3 story apartment building prior to it being renovated? Even a halfway house would be an actual improvement over what has been in that structure and what has actually been going on in that area for the last several years, if not decades. Not all halfway houses are evil, or poorly run. IF that is what is going in at 19 Madison, before we jump down their throats, maybe we could find out a bit more about it? Like, who is running it? How will it be run? A halfway house isn't a house for druggies, dealers, hookers, & the mafia, etc. They've already moved out. Does anyone know who the owners of the property are? Has anyone truly attempted to talk with them (not at them but with them) to see what is happening there? Once again, what was there a few months ago would curl a bald uncle's hair, IF he knew. :)
Sylvia Lazo November 01, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Sweetcakes, if you know who the property owner is, why not voice your concerns to him directly, at least before venting ABOUT him behind his back? Seems like a fair thing to do.
Sylvia Lazo November 01, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Oh, one more thing:) IF you see "...peddlers breaking the law every day by pushing their carts (selling junk food) up next to the schools during school hours and breaking city code (the code specifically states no selling between the hours of 7AM-5PM) Our neighborhood is trashed every day ..." one fairly easy fix is to address it yourself. Yep, just walk up to the cart in question, politely greet the 'seller' and in whatever language you deem most beneficial at the moment, let them know that they are breaking the law, and can't continue to do so in that particular spot. As for the trash, we get quite alot of it daily as well. Rather than leave it up to other people, city employees or otherwise, we just pick it up. Yes, it's tiring, it gets old, and it can be aggravating. But it's OUR yard so we keep it clean best we can. CHEERS :)
sweetcakes November 02, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Dear Sylvia, And I quote: "Sweetcakes, if you know who the property owner is, why not voice your concerns to him directly, at least before venting ABOUT him behind his back? Seems like a fair thing to do". Well Sylvia, neighbors in the area brought this matter to my attention and are very unhappy about the fact that the city denies knowing about the halfway house being built and the property owner says he has permission from the city. Whenever you change the use of a property (which used to be an apartment building which did have a lot of problems with drug users and crime) you still have to have a public hearing so people that also live in the area have input into what is being built or changed in their neighborhood. I am not the only one that is unhappy about it. All the neighborhood is. I'm the only one that has spoken up about it in the Patch. Someone did speak to the city and they denied any knowledge about it. As for talking to the property owner, someone that is well known in the neighborhood already did speak to the property owner and that's how he found out that the apartment building was being converted to a halfway house. The neighborhood is upset because this halfway house is being snuck into the neighborhood without informing residents, schools or the Churches (2) that have after school programs and also the Head Start Day care which is directly across the street from the structure. Your quote: " before we jump down their throats, maybe we could find out a bit more" The resident of the neighborhood that spoke to the property owner and the city is well known and very polite. He has been on several city commissions and is very upset about this as are all the residents. I don't think that anyone wants to have a halfway house built next to them and so close to schools without more information and a public hearing. Another comment of yours, "IF you see "...peddlers breaking the law every day by pushing their carts (selling junk food) up next to the schools during school hours and breaking city code (the code specifically states no selling between the hours of 7AM-5PM) Our neighborhood is trashed every day ..." one fairly easy fix is to address it yourself. Yep, just walk up to the cart in question, politely greet the 'seller' and in whatever language you deem most beneficial at the moment, let them know that they are breaking the law, and can't continue to do so in that particular spot. As for the trash, we get quite alot of it daily as well. Rather than leave it up to other people we just pick it up" I can't count how many times the venders have been approached and shown the sign, but they only speak Spanish and aren't even from Watsonville. The carts have sales permits attached to them that are from Salinas. We do pick up garbage every single day but we also expect the city to police the city codes that they enact. You have garbage from the 7-11 you live next to and anyone living next to a store like that would expect litter. The vendors are breaking the law just be being there and the schools don't like it either. The principal of the two schools has also called and complained about it. Residents in the area of Minte White and EA Hall Schools just want the city to do the job they are supposed to do. Prior to the city changing land use codes, they have to have a public hearing. Changing an apartment building code to a half way house code requires public notification and a hearing. This wasn't done. City code also states that no vending can be done by trucks, etc. between the hours of 7AM-5PM. near schools. Perhaps you are OK with the city not enforcing code or having a hearing prior to changing land use and starting construction since you don't live directly in the vicinity, but the residents in the close neighborhood aren't. I am merely their their spokesperson.
Natalie Hoffman November 03, 2013 at 01:48 AM
I live in the area and also work for the after school program that takes place at the church next door. Thanks for posting your concerns. This is the first time I have heard about the halfway house. Keep posting any updates. If love to be in the know.
sweetcakes November 03, 2013 at 09:21 AM
Natalie, This is why I posted the comment. It was to inform others in the neighborhood that didn't know about the halfway house Please pass the information to others in the neighborhood if you can. Thank you! It might be a good thing (better than all the druggies living there before), but the neighborhood residents just want to be able to find out more from the city and also give their input as to what is built or placed into our neighborhood that has two schools close by.
Henry Acosta November 03, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Sweetcakes I want to thank you for informing residents of what's going on at that old apartment building at 19 Madison. Your comments are appreciated by those of us that live near the structure. We also will request the city to have a hearing on this matter. We appreciate all your efforts to stop the food carts from setting up during the hours they are legally prohibited from being there. People that don't live directly in our neighborhood don't experience the same problems we do. Some comments related to your post were rude and uncalled for. Keep up the great work, Cakes and see you at the next council meeting.
Denise November 04, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Thanks Sweet Cakes, for posting informative and enlightening comments so that others may be aware of what is happening around them. Also, nice job not returning the rudeness displayed by Sylvia. I saw, elsewhere on this site, that she's leaving and we won't be subject to her juvenile behavior any longer. So long, Sylvia.
Jim November 04, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Maybe Going to the Halfway house ?
Martin W. Bailey November 05, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Will this halfway house problem be brought up at the citycouncil meeting?
Cathy P. November 07, 2013 at 01:35 PM
@sweetcakes (and all concerned): I have contacted each City Council member and the Deputy City Manager asking about the proposed halfway house. If you haven't already, may I suggest you all do the same? I know Dr. Bilicich will at least respond (not sure about the others). @Martin W. Bailey: there is nothing on the agenda of the next City Council meeting (11/12/13) regarding this issue. Please contact your CC person about it too. This issue cannot be ignored.
Cathy P. November 07, 2013 at 03:32 PM
@sweetcakes: the answer I received from the City goes like this: "The property at 19 Madison is a private apartment complex. The property is not currently subject to any zoning or code enforcement violations. The property owner has chosen to rent his apartments to individuals working full time following a period of recovery. Given that the owner does not receive financial assistance from the City, County, State or Federal Government, this use is private. The use is not considered to be either a halfway house, nor transitional housing, therefore no permits, approvals or review by the City is required. The City did not approve the use because the use does not require City approvals, therefore no public hearings were held." BTW, Dr. Bilicich was the only Council member to respond (I knew she would, she always does).
Martin W. Bailey November 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Doesn't sound like much of an issue; good info Cathy P.
sweetcakes November 11, 2013 at 11:12 AM
Cathy, thank you for all your work in getting information regarding this issue.
Sylvia Lazo November 16, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Just a short vacation :) My comments here were not intentionally rude, but if that is how they came across to you Sweetcakes, for that I apologize.
Laura November 20, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Thanks for the heads up about this. I had no knowledge about the proposed halfway house. This area has gotten worse and I am not about to watch this go down without neighborhood input. I would support having a neighborhood meeting to address the concerns to start off with. Is there an online petition that we can sign?
Cathy P. November 21, 2013 at 04:44 PM
@Laura: the apartment complex is privately owned and the city has no involvement at all. HOWEVER, you have a representative on the City Council, try contacting him (good luck getting him to respond) to see what you can do about setting up an informational neighborhood meeting. It couldn't hurt and just may get some questions answered and any fears allayed.
sweetcakes November 22, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Dodge never responds to emails at the city gov. offices. He is not seen but still collecting the pay check.
Roberto P December 06, 2013 at 06:59 PM
This is most likely a Narconon house run by Scientology. They are in deep with the city and have these drug rehabs stashed all over Watsonville. They are all done under cover. They have the main facility in town here. This is a link to the address: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Stop-Narconon/Watsonville/Daniel_Manson/ Look down on the bottom and you will see the address. Trouble follows every place they have a rehab unit. Good Luck!!

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