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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 11th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 27

Lompoc City Council grants Valley Haven an extension on construction of its new adult day-care facility


Valley Haven executive director Sandra Knight (pictured here, in the newly refurbished dining area) recently took the Sun on a tour of its new Lompoc property.

If everything goes according to plan, Valley Haven employees expect to move into their new Lompoc location by Halloween weekend, said Sandra Knight, the nonprofit organization’s executive director, while taking the Sun on a tour of the 1920s home. Based in Solvang, Valley Haven runs adult day programs for area seniors who are suffering from dementia, frail, or would just like some company during the day.

On Sept. 5, the Lompoc City Council voted 3-2 not to require the construction of four employee parking spaces on the property, which is located at 502 N. Third St. Mayor John Linn and council member Dirk Starbuck cast the dissenting votes.

When asked why he voted no, Linn said, “I don’t like doing something for one entity that we’re not going to do for another.”

The council also voted 4-1, with Starbuck again dissenting, to eliminate the need for an $18,000 bond and granted the organization an additional 24 months to build a sidewalk near the property.

Linn said he thought the bond easement and construction extension were appropriate because it can be very difficult for nonprofits to secure bonds.

Valley Haven has been operating in Lompoc for 13 years out of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. However, space limitations meant the adult day program could only be offered locally four days a week. On the fifth day, Lompoc seniors had to be bussed to the facility in Solvang.

After several years of looking for a new location, the organization finally closed escrow on the North Third Street home in March.

“It’s a really cute little house,” Knight said.

Because of its age and new purpose, the house required a bit of remodeling and retrofitting. So far, Valley Haven has added a new bathroom and made the existing bathroom compliant with the American Disabilities Act. Board members, employees, and volunteers also added fresh paint and an ADA-compliant ramp inside the house. They’re getting ready to start concrete work on an outside ramp next week.

The house on North Third Street will be home to an adult day program for area seniors.

Knight said she understands some of the council members’ concerns about the parking spaces, but she thinks the property’s more than 250 feet of curb space will prevent any traffic problems.

“Even with 18 feet of curb space per car, we’re still going to have plenty of curb space,” she said. “Plus, everyone’s going to be gone by 5 o’clock, which is when parking starts to become an issue in residential areas.”

She explained that the vast majority of Valley Haven’s clients will be dropped off by the organization’s van service or a loved one.

“Rarely do we have someone who’s in the condition to drive,” Kinght said. “And most loved ones are going to pull into the driveway to drop someone off. It’s not going to be a doctor’s office with 10 cars outside.”

She added that the Valley Haven’s conditional use permit with the city will enable the City Council to review development requirements, should the organization decide to expand its services.

As planned, the new facility can house about 15 people at a time. Valley Haven clients start the day with a light breakfast and a mind-stimulating game. They also play a physical game, like indoor bowling, and eat lunch together. Knight said the new location will enable the program to expand its hours; it will now be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accommodate adult children who work full-time.

“It enhances the quality of [seniors’] lives because they’re interacting with people in a safe environment,” Knight said of the program. “It also allows caretakers to relax and go about their duties, or just get a little time off.”

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