Tuesday, May 20, 2008

About this Blogspot...

This blog serves as an information hub for the residents of Rolling Fields, a subdivision of Columbia, Tennessee and their effort to protect their community from commercial encroachment. This subdivision, developed in the late 1950s, is one of Columbia's most established and convenient. However, its convenience has also appealed to a number of commercial interests in the last several years, the latest being an attempt by Centerstone Community Mental Health to convert one of Rolling Field's premier homes (1000 Rolling Fields Circle) into a group treatment facility for persons with certain serious mental health problems. Centerstone is one of the largest providers of mental health services in the United States.

Centerstone’s purpose is to use the facility as a replacement for its existing “Jackson Hall,” a facility designed for the continued treatment and temporary housing of persons suffering from a mental illness or illnesses (e.g. paranoid schizophrenia), often transitioning such persons from local jails, psychiatric hospitals or homeless shelters to more stable, permanent housing. The proposal calls for up to eight (8) so-called “residents” and up to three (3) Centerstone staff members. It is very important to understand that this is not a facility for the treatment or housing of mentally retarded or autistic individuals, but rather by persons with some other diagnosed psychiatric illness(es).

A few months ago, Marie Voss, a resident of 1002 Rolling Fields Circle, filed suit to stop Centerstone’s intended use of the property. In her complaint, Ms. Voss presents several arguments, including that the property is not zoned for such use. That lawsuit is still pending and is many months from being finished. Ms. Voss’ attorney, Jason Whatley, is very confident that the lawsuit will ultimately stop Centerstone from using the house as planned. However, Mr. Whatley also cautions that Centerstone will likely occupy the facility while the lawsuit is pending and before any final decision of the courts on the issues.

There are many different reasons why our residents may be opposed to having this facility in Rolling Fields. However, one common objection is that the use of this residence as part of Centerstone’s continuum of treatment introduces a major commercial use into the heart of our residential community. Many of our neighbors believe that it is critical that the continued pressure to commercialize homes in Rolling Fields, especially those close to Trotwood Avenue, must be stopped in order to insure the survival of one of Columbia’s most special neighborhoods.

It is for this and other reasons that our community is in the process or organizing a very reasonable, but forceful campaign to stop Centerstone, utilizing the legal process, the media and other political/governmental assistance. It is the belief of many that each of these areas must be utilized to convince Centerstone that 1000 Rolling Fields Circle is a bad choice for a mental health treatment facility.