Northeast Times

Dear landlord: Don’t rent your property to a methadone clinic.

That’s the mes­sage foes of a planned drug cen­ter on Frank­ford Av­en­ue have for the own­er of the prop­erty.

A com­munity protest was held on Thursday Septem­ber 22 out­side of RE/MAX. The group was protest­ing own­er/broker Den­nis Kulp who is rent­ing a nearby space to a meth­adone clin­ic.

Op­pon­ents of a pro­posed meth­adone clin­ic at 7900 Frank­ford Ave. last week dir­ec­ted their ire at the man who leased the prop­erty.

Den­nis Kulp is own­er/broker at RE/MAX East­ern, at 7908 Frank­ford Ave. He owns the build­ing that con­sists of the real es­tate of­fice, an elec­tric­al sup­ply com­pany, 11 apart­ments and the pro­posed clin­ic.

Neigh­bors learned in Ju­ly that The Heal­ing Way was plan­ning to open a clin­ic at the site of the former Last Call bar at Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Dec­atur Street.

Mem­bers of the May­fair and Holmes­burg civic as­so­ci­ations pro­tested at the site and held a pub­lic meet­ing at Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School.

As it turned out, The Heal­ing Way re­ceived per­mits from the city De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions way back in Janu­ary to open a med­ic­al of­fice, which is al­lowed un­der C-2 zon­ing.

While the state passed a law in 1999 pro­hib­it­ing meth­adone clin­ics from open­ing with­in 500 feet of a school, play­ground, church, park, house or child-care cen­ter, a fed­er­al ap­peals court ruled in 2007 that the law was un­con­sti­tu­tion­al be­cause it vi­ol­ated the Amer­ic­ans with Dis­ab­il­it­ies Act.

Kulp has in­sisted that he didn’t know that The Heal­ing Way planned to op­er­ate a meth­adone clin­ic, which would dis­pense the drug in li­quid form to help ad­dicts kick their habits. 

He’s writ­ten a let­ter to the state De­part­ment of Health in op­pos­i­tion to a per­mit to op­er­ate.

The lease began in March.

“At the time, there was no men­tion that the prop­erty would be used as a meth­adone clin­ic,” Kulp wrote to Dr. Eli Avila, sec­ret­ary of the state health de­part­ment.

However, Alan Yan­ovsky, who plans to op­er­ate the clin­ic, test­i­fied at an Aug. 31 Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment hear­ing that Kulp knew his plans all along.

Both sides con­tin­ue to wait for a rul­ing from the zon­ing board. Neigh­bors want the ZBA to re­voke the per­mits be­cause the pa­per­work in­dic­ated that The Heal­ing Way wanted to open a mere med­ic­al of­fice.

At­tor­ney Carl Primavera, rep­res­ent­ing Yan­ovsky, said C-2 zon­ing per­mits a clin­ic. He was backed at the zon­ing hear­ing by an of­fi­cial with L&I.

Whichever side loses the zon­ing case will likely ap­peal to the courts. Be­fore the clin­ic can open, it will also need per­mits from state and fed­er­al agen­cies.

The Heal­ing Way plans to open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and op­er­ate out of 4,830 square feet of space. Yan­ovsky has made $150,000 in im­prove­ments to the of­fice and es­tim­ates that the clin­ic would handle about 200 cli­ents a day.

“Where do two-hun­dred people park?” fur­niture store own­er Mi­chael Ka­plan asked at last week’s anti-Kulp rally.

The L&I of­fi­cial who test­i­fied at last month’s zon­ing hear­ing in­dic­ated that there were no park­ing re­quire­ments.

Milt Mar­telack, an Aldine Street res­id­ent and the rally or­gan­izer, be­lieves that Kulp made a “selfish busi­ness de­cision.”

“Boy­cott Mr. Den­nis Kulp and all his in­terests with­in RE/MAX East­ern,” Mar­telack said in­to a mega­phone.

The real es­tate of­fice was closed dur­ing the rally, which began at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 22. A clin­ic op­pon­ent placed a sign on the of­fice door that read, “Den­nis Kulp ‘Block­bust­ing.’ Selling out NE Philly.” 

Kulp did not re­turn a call for com­ment.

State Rep. Kev­in Boyle called the pro­posed site “an ab­so­lutely ter­rible loc­a­tion.”

Glenn De­vitt, a Wissi­nom­ing res­id­ent and pres­id­ent of the largely in­act­ive United North­east Neigh­bors, said the pos­sible clin­ic open­ing is an­oth­er sign that, “We’re un­der siege here in the North­east.”

Dur­ing the rally, en­gaged couple Kyle Ri­sing­er and Christine My­ers of Oak­mont Street walked by with their 2-year-old son.

Ri­sing­er, 28, and My­ers, 32, take meth­adone at the SOAR­Corp Re­cov­ery Cen­ter, at 9150 Mar­shall St.

“They have no idea what they’re talk­ing about. It makes me so mad,” My­ers said of clin­ic op­pon­ents. “They have the wrong idea about people. We’re people try­ing to get help. We’re not bad people.”

Ad­ded Ri­sing­er: “It helps people, it really does. I’ve been on it for three and a half months, and I haven’t touched a drug. It’s like al­co­hol­ics. It works if you want it to work.”

“We don’t think you should be on the corner of Frank­ford and Dec­atur,” Ka­plan, the fur­niture store own­er, told them.

“See yas in a couple months,” My­ers replied.

In re­sponse to a ques­tion about ru­mors that Kulp and Yan­ovsky are eye­ing a more re­mote loc­a­tion on State Road, Primavera said he had not heard of those plans.

City Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski also is un­aware of an­oth­er site. Kra­jew­ski ar­ranged for two at­tor­neys to rep­res­ent the neigh­bors. They are work­ing pro bono for the Demo­crat­ic City Com­mit­tee. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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