In a word: No.StartFragment
That’s the message Frankford and Northwood residents gave a man who wants to establish a “personal-care boarding home” in a large Penn Street house.
They don’t want it and they won’t want it, they told Deacon Lamont Purnell after he outlined his plans during a packed Northwood Civic Association meeting at St. James Church on July 17. And public officials who attended the meeting at Castor Avenue and Pratt told the deacon that they and local civic organizations were just not going to back him and he should consider something else for his property.
Purnell said his non-profit Innovative Treatment Alternatives would operate a home for no more than 24 residents, who would get 24-hour, seven-day-a-week supervision. It would not be a drug-treatment facility, he said, adding that no ex-convicts or sex offenders will be housed. Residents would have mental-health issues, depression, dementia and substance-abuse problems, he said, adding that seven full-time and three part-time employees would be hired to care for them.
“We are talking about a top-notch facility,” Purnell said.
However, it is recovering drug addicts that residents don’t want on the property. Claiming Frankford already is saturated with housing for people with drug and alcohol problems, neighbors picketed in front of the property at 4834 Penn St. on July 6.
At the July 17 meeting, one resident asked Purnell if he lived in Frankford, and when he was told he didn’t, the same man asked why Frankford was chosen.
Purnell said the building was advertised as a rooming house. It is zoned as a multifamily dwelling.
Purnell said he is applying for state licenses for the facility, but said he can’t get them until he improves the property. Right now he can’t do that. The city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections on July 6 issued a cease-work order because no permits had been issued.
Innovative Treatment also needs a zoning variance for the property to operate a personal-care boarding home, Purnell said.
Before Purnell gets a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing, he would have to seek community backing, which Frank Bennett, Northwood’s vice president, told him he’s not going to get from his civic group or from Frankford.
“You’re going to have opposition,” Bennett said. “You might want to have a Plan B.”
Purnell said what he was presenting was his Plan B. His first proposal, which would have included drug-treatment, he said, was shot down by City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez (D-7th dist.). The personal-care boarding home proposal is the alternative.
Penn Street resident Veronica Daniel said she doesn’t want a boarding home at 4834, but she also doesn’t want to see the property vacant either.
But she added that the work done before the city stopped it seems to be of a “quality that is not at a standard that is decent.”
“We are against a recovery home; we are against a personal-care home,” state Rep. Tony Payton Jr. (D-179th dist.) told Purnell, adding Purnell should stop pursuing a state license for a boarding home and “pursue another business.”
Purnell’s proposal for 4834 Penn St. will be further discussed at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, at the meeting of the Northeast EPIC Stakeholders in the second-floor meeting room of Aria Health’s Frankford Campus, 4900 Frankford Ave., and at the 7 p.m. Aug. 2 session of the Frankford Civic Association at the same location. ••EndFragment