Update: Methadone Clinic Barred from Northeast Philly
The Zoning Board of Adjustment ruled today that the permit for a proposed methadone clinic in the Holmesburg section of Northeast Philadelphia will be overturned. The ZBA sided with the neighbors and area politicians who had fought tooth and nail against the proposed rehabilitation center since last summer. Many cited it’d bring negative element into the neighborhood.
State Rep. Kevin Boyle, one of the legislators who’d fought against the clinic on the 7900 block of Frankford Avenue, put out an announcement today on the ruling. “This extremely important ruling is the culmination of months of work, which has brought local residents together and strengthened our community,” he said.
Additionally, Boyle says he will begin working at the state level to make sure neighborhoods have more say over methadone clinics in the future. His legislation, House Bill 1885, will require a public hearing for all narcotics facilities in the future and the potential owner will have to get approval from the local district attorney, among other requirements.
The rage against the clinic peaked last summer when about 750 Northeast Philly citizens and some politicians gathered at the Lincoln High School auditorium in late July. The politicians included State Rep. Mike McGeehan, State Rep. Kevin Boyle, State Senator Mike Stack, State Rep. Mark Cohen, City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski and Karen Grumankin, representing Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, who was out of town due to the then-debt ceiling fight going on in Washington.
Residents who vocalized their opinions at that neighborhood meeting were basically 100 percent opposed to the clinic, which was set to be called “Healing Way.” I previously wrote about the meeting here, to which a commenter lovingly responded, “You can tell the author of this blog is just so smug and looks down his nose on the hard-working, working class residents of this neighborhood. It was so big of the author, Randy LoBasso, to force himself to leave Center City and come up to the Northeast. You just know the whole time he was sitting in the meeting saying “ewwww all of these close minded lower class white people”.”
Newsworks later wrote about a zoning board meeting, in which neighbors took their case directly to the board. Much of the controversy initially erupted because the property was originally obtained through a C2 permit, which does not require a zoning hearing. Several of the politicians on hand at the meeting claimed because of the permit process, they did not understand what was happening at the location. Residents were upset with both the potential owners of Healing Way, who many claimed were also owners of “Cash for Gold” storefronts, and the man who rented the property. The applicants have the right to appeal the ZBA’s ruling.