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Zoning battle over proposed Haverford mental health center

Residents of Haverford, Pennsylvania turned out in large numbers at a recent planning commission meeting, expressing opposition to a request for a conditional use permit for a mental health care facility. Under applicable zoning laws, the property could be approved for such a facility as a conditional use, but approval is required.

The property is on the edge of a residential area and directly across from a children's' playground. The non-profit corporation interested in opening the facility pointed out that it would not be used for residential treatment or other in-patient treatment programs, but rather for board meetings, informational public gatherings, employee training, administrative offices, counseling and special skills training.

The property, located at 5 Llandillo Road in Havetown, was previously used as the location of the Stratford Friends School. In earlier years, it was a public elementary school. The group advancing the current proposal serves people with developmental challenges, physical disabilities and serious mental illnesses. It receives financial support from donors, private payments for services, and state and county government agencies.

The organization believes the site would help it better fulfill its function because of good access to public transportation and its central location. It would also reduce the group's overhead by allowing it to function from owned, rather than rented, facilities. The sale of the property to the group is contingent on the approval of the conditional use permit. Approval of conditional use permits often stir up public controversy.

If you are involved in the development of such projects, you should contact experienced zoning and land use attorneys from the earliest stages of the process to make sure that all legal requirements for approval are met.


Source: 
Mainline MediaNews, "Havertown residents oppose mental health facility" Lois Puglionesi, Aug. 02, 2013

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