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Holmesburg zoning board gets earful about methadone clinic

More than 100 neighborhood residents crowded a zoning board meeting in Holmesburg to rally against a commercial zoning permit for a methadone clinic. The permit issued to The Healing Way allows for a medical clinic, not a place where addicts seek treatment, said protestors.

Attorneys arguing against the permit stated that a C2 mixed-use commercial zoning permit does not specifically equate medical centers with methadone clinics. The lawyers said the clinic's proposed use did not include details of the owner's true intentions. They also said a permit to open The Healing Way would not have been granted if the Department of Licenses & Inspections knew of "appropriate facts."

Many of the residents who attended the hearing, which took place in the Municipal Services Building, told zoning board members that a methadone clinic would be detrimental to the neighborhood. One day care center owner, whose business is within eyesight of the proposed methadone facility, said her child care business would suffer if the clinic is allowed to open.

The lawyer representing the owner of the methadone clinic said his client received a permit for a medical office. The type of medical office, he said, was not relevant.

An L&I representative testified to the board that methadone clinics are allowed under C2 permits. She stated that methadone clinics are considered hospitals or medical centers under the city code.

Shouts in protest peppered the recent zoning board hearing, prompting some to predict the matter would not be resolved outside of a courtroom. The zoning board is expected to make its decision on The Healing Way permit within three weeks.

Source: philly.com, "Proposed drug clinic in Holmesburg draws fire at hearing," Morgan Zalot, Sept. 1, 2011

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