Lawsuit seeking to block Santa Rosa home for troubled young adults dismissed

Neighbors had hoped to block Social Advocates for Youth’s planned 63-bed housing facility for adults aged 18 to 24 who are transitioning out of foster care or are homeless.|

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Santa Rosa’s approval of a facility for at-risk young adults in Bennett Valley.

Social Advocates for Youth plans to convert the former Warrack Hospital on Summerfield Road in a 63-bed facility for adults ages 18 to 24 who are transitioning out of foster care or are homeless.

The project won strong support from a wide swath of the community, including political, business and community leaders.

But it also stirred the ire of nearby residents who argued that the project, dubbed the Dream Center, would disrupt the tranquility of their peaceful neighborhood and was an inappropriate location for such services.

Residents Charles Jensen and Robert Turley sued in Sonoma County Superior Court last year, claiming the city failed to fully study the noise and traffic impacts of the project as required under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Judge Elliot Lee Daum heard additional arguments in the case last week and dismissed it Monday.

“The court’s decision provides a very thorough and detailed analysis of the issues and, as we anticipated, upheld the City Council’s decision approving the SAY Dream Center,” City Attorney Caroline Fowler said in a statement.

An attorney for SAY, Rose Zoia, said the neighbors never had a case.

“The decision today by the Sonoma County Superior Court affirms the CEQA case brought against the city and SAY was entirely without merit,” Zoia said in a statement.

Ted Cody, the attorney representing the neighbors, said his clients would consider an appeal after reviewing the court’s ruling.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or ?On Twitter @srcitybeat.

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