Ohana artist's rendering

Pebble Beach resident Bertie Bialek Elliott's vision of making a serious difference to the community through a nearly $106 million gift to Montage Health just took a big step toward becoming reality.

More than two years after the announcement of Bialek's historic gift—the largest in Montage's history—the Monterey City Council unanimously approved on Aug. 4 the 55,000-square-foot Ohana adolescent mental health facility that will include both inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Youth inpatient mental health treatment has been an extreme challenge for Monterey County for some time, with patients having to be sent to facilities in other counties. 

When Bialek approached Montage about making her gift, she asked the nonprofit's leadership how the money could make the biggest impact. The lack of adolescent beds for mental health assessment and treatment motivated her to designate the money for a new facility and program. She named it "Ohana," the Hawaiian word for "family." The program is already operating in an outpatient capacity, using existing Montage offices. 

The council's approval allows Montage to move forward with its plans to build on a hillside in Ryan Ranch, between Highway 68 and Lower Ragsdale Drive, with access from Lower Ragsdale. The proposed building includes three levels: outpatient clinics on the upper level; group therapy spaces, kitchen, cafeteria and gym on second level; a 16-bed residential program on the lower level. Patients would stay no more than 90 days.

The approval included amending the city's municipal code to allow for extended care in a medical facility in the Industrial, Administration and Research District. It includes following special regulations to address the fact it is in an airport safety zone, since it will be in the flight path of Monterey Regional Airport.

The council also approved a use permit that includes a height variance. The height allowed is 35 feet but the building has two sections with elevators that will require 50 feet six inches. 

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