Fight continues over planned methadone clinic


At­tor­neys in­volved in the de­bate over the pro­posed meth­adone clin­ic in Holmes­burg are pre­par­ing their case for the up­com­ing court ap­peal.

Mean­while, some neigh­bors want the planned op­er­at­or to know that their op­pos­i­tion is as fierce as ever.

A rally against the clin­ic, to be op­er­ated by The Heal­ing Way, will take place on Thursday, Ju­ly 19, at 6 p.m. out­side the pro­posed fa­cil­ity, at 7900 Frank­ford Ave. (at Dec­atur Street).

Mean­while, The Heal­ing Way must file its re­cord — the tran­script of the case and the find­ings of fact — with the city of­fice of the pro­tho­not­ary by Aug. 6.

By Sept. 4, the agency must file its brief with the court. At­tor­neys for neigh­bors have un­til Oct. 1 to file their brief.

Or­al ar­gu­ments on the leg­al mer­its of the ap­peal will be heard on Nov. 5 in the City Hall courtroom of Com­mon Pleas Court Judge Idee C. Fox.

The Heal­ing Way has wanted to open since the be­gin­ning of 2011. The or­gan­iz­a­tion ren­ov­ated the space that once housed the Last Call, which closed in 2008 after a shoot­ing out­side the bar.

The city De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions is­sued per­mits for the over­haul, but neigh­bors ap­pealed that de­cision to the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment.

The hear­ing took place last Au­gust, but it took more than six months for the ZBA to rule. The board re­voked the per­mits is­sued by L&I, de­light­ing elec­ted of­fi­cials and mem­bers of the Holmes­burg and May­fair civic as­so­ci­ations.

Neigh­bors have com­plained that the site has no park­ing and is too close to schools, churches, res­id­ences, a pub­lic lib­rary and day-care cen­ters.

However, The Heal­ing Way be­lieves it has the right to open.

The prop­erty is zoned C-2, which al­lows for com­mer­cial activ­ity such as a med­ic­al of­fice as long as there are no overnight stays.

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

The clin­ic would op­er­ate in 4,830 square feet of space and cater to 200 cli­ents per day. Meth­adone is used to wean people off drugs and is usu­ally ad­min­istered in a power­ful li­quid form.

At last sum­mer’s hear­ing, pro­posed clin­ic op­er­at­or Alan Yan­ovsty test­i­fied that he had made $150,000 in im­prove­ments to the site. He is rent­ing the loc­a­tion from the own­er of a real es­tate com­pany that also has of­fice space there.

Even if The Heal­ing Way ul­ti­mately wins its ap­peal, it would need state and fed­er­al ap­prov­al to open.

Among those ex­pec­ted to speak at the rally are Dawn Tan­credi and Phil Mc­Fil­lin, at­tor­neys for the neigh­bors. ••


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