By Mary O’KEEFE
The neighbors in the 3000 block of Frances Avenue have been voicing their concerns regarding a new neighborhood business.
U Matter Luxury Resort purchased a home on a large parcel in the area and has created an oasis for “detox.”
“We are a wellness center,” said Prescilla Cardenas, spokesperson for U Matter Luxury Resort.
The resort is designed as an “intense detox program” that proposes to offer detoxification for a number of issues ranging from those who have food allergies to those who may have indulged too much with alcohol and drugs. However, Cardenas stressed it is not a rehabilitation center for those who wish to go through a program that involves medical withdrawals.
“We are an all-natural spa,” she added.
There is a private chef on-site who will not only create healthy meals for clients but also teach those at the spa how to continue preparing healthy meals after returning home. U Matter Luxury Resort offers mud baths, group therapy, mediation areas, yoga classes and deep massages. The model for the resort is based on a European version of this type of spa. It does not accept private insurance and there is a regimented process that applicants go through to attend the spa.
This may sound like a wonderful opportunity for those who can afford it and even parallels the history of the Crescenta Valley and Tujunga that at one time was a beacon for healthy living with clean air and a number of spas. However, this new neighborhood business has residents wondering why they were not informed about it prior to the installation of a sign at the location, and why permits allow for substance rehabilitation.
CVW spoke to one neighbor who is having a difficult time trusting the owner of U Matter Luxury Resort because of the lack of outreach done regarding the resort. The neighbor toured the facility and, though he liked what he saw, he said there were still nagging concerns.
“It was informative,” he said of the tour. “We are still not comfortable with the lack of community involvement in the approval process for a business in our neighborhood. We feel like we’re at the mercy of just taking [their word] of what the business is going to actually be.”
He, along with other neighbors, is concerned with the substance rehabilitation permit that was pulled by the business. Cardenas explained this permit is required by Los Angeles County due to the detox nature of the business but U Matter Luxury Resort is not a rehabilitation center.
The residence is in the unincorporated area of LA County and falls under the jurisdiction of LA County Supervisor – Fifth District – Kathryn Barger.
Barger’s office is aware of the concerns of the residents and her office has reached out to the Dept. of Regional Planning (DRP) to follow up on the process. The DRP representatives had told the owner to remove the sign that had been placed at the property because it was in violation of an ordinance.
“The ‘resort’ is in the process of receiving licensing and certification of its new facility as a non-medical residential rehabilitation facility that can provide specifically approved CA Dept. of Health Care Services (DHCS) scope of services to short-term residents consisting of 1) educational sessions; 2) group sessions; 3) individual sessions; 4) recovery or treatment planning. The site’s director of Operations, Prescilla Cardenas, has communicated to DRP that the site is not a medical detoxification or incidental medical services facility,” according to Barger’s office.
DRP has sent emails to constituents who have emailed their concerns and has reached out to the owner and agent for the U Matter Luxury Resort LLC. A meeting with the owners was scheduled that will include a tour of the facility.
There is an issue of how many people, or clients, will be at the spa. There are six bedrooms that will be available with another bedroom that will be for the facility worker, according to Cardenas.
Barger continues to follow this issue, along with DRP. Cardenas said she was not contacted by any neighbor about the concerns surrounding the resort until she noticed the concerns posted on social media. She invites neighbors who have questions to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CVW will continue to follow this issue.