Northeast Oklahoma City residents are concerned for their safety after a mental hospital violates city code.
City planning commissioners sided with neighbors, Thursday, in their attempt to keep adult patients out of the Cedar Ridge Hospital, which is intended for child patients.
People living near NE 50th and Air Depot said they are not happy with hospital, which has been located in the neighborhood for years. Neighbors recently learned the hospital has been illegally accepting adult patients for the past decade.
"The neighbors do not want to admit adults," said State Rep. Anastasia Pittman (D-Oklahoma City). "That violation had already been proven that adults are there without permission."
Politicians, community activists and neighbors urged the planning commission to enforce code already on the books for the hospital.
"This creates a community burden in the decision that we'll lose adult psych beds that are severely in need," said mental health expert, Randy Tate.
Cedar Ridge originally asked Oklahoma City for permission to expand its operation. That's when the city realized adult patients were in the hospital illegally.
Hospital officials told commissioners the children and adults are placed in separate buildings. Neighbors said patients have trespassed on their land. Plus, a child rape allegation at the hospital is also stirring emotion.
"My family is afraid to go out and walk the street," neighbor James Henderson told commissioners. "My neighbors have had their cars broken into."
The hospital downplayed safety concerns Thursday. It promised to work with residents by building a fence around the property. Neighbors said Cedar Ridge has been disingenuous in the past, and they don't trust the company now. In a vote of 5 to 1, the planning commission agreed with the residents.
It is unclear to where the adult patients will be transferred. As of late Thursday, just less than 40 beds for adults were in use. A decision must now be made by the city council.