Methadone clinic opens in Holmesburg

The con­tro­ver­sial Heal­ing Way meth­adone clin­ic at 7900 Frank­ford Ave. (at Dec­atur Street) opened earli­er this month.

Hours of op­er­a­tion are week­days from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and week­ends from 6 to 11 a.m.

The fi­nal hurdle to the open­ing came in May, when the state health de­part­ment is­sued a li­cense to op­er­ate.

The li­cense per­mits the Heal­ing Way to treat 85 pa­tients per day.

The Holmes­burg and May­fair civic as­so­ci­ations, neigh­bor­ing com­munity groups and loc­al elec­ted of­fi­cials op­pose the clin­ic.

In March, a three-judge Com­mon­wealth Court pan­el re­jec­ted an ap­peal by neigh­bors op­posed to the clin­ic. The state court af­firmed an earli­er rul­ing by Phil­adelphia Com­mon Pleas Court, which OK’d the clin­ic.

Op­pon­ents have ap­pealed the Com­mon­wealth Court de­cision to the state Su­preme Court.

Meth­adone is a drug that is used to help ad­dicts kick the habit. It is usu­ally ad­min­istered in li­quid form.

The fight over the clin­ic dates to Janu­ary 2011, when the city De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions is­sued a use per­mit, and the Heal­ing Way ob­tained build­ing per­mits for in­teri­or al­ter­a­tions of the 4,830-square-foot prop­erty.

Neigh­bors ap­pealed L&I’s is­su­ance of the per­mit.

The Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment heard the ap­peals in Au­gust 2011, then ruled in March 2012 in a 4-1 vote that a meth­adone clin­ic — un­like a med­ic­al of­fice, hos­pit­al or med­ic­al cen­ter — is not a per­mit­ted use of a prop­erty that is zoned C-2.

The Heal­ing Way ap­pealed that rul­ing to Com­mon Pleas Court, and Judge Idee Fox heard ar­gu­ments in Decem­ber 2012. A city law­yer sided with the Heal­ing Way at the hear­ing.

In her writ­ten opin­ion, Fox de­term­ined that a meth­adone clin­ic is a per­mit­ted use of a C-2 prop­erty, and that the zon­ing board was wrong in its rul­ing.

The Heal­ing Way moved in­to a prop­erty that had been va­cant since 2008. The Last Call closed that year after a shoot­ing out­side the bar. ••

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