Methadone clinic opposed

Members of the Holmesburg Civic Association last week overwhelmingly voted to oppose a proposed methadone clinic at 7520 State Road.

The vote was 18–1.

The clinic, which would be located next to Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse, is unrelated to one planned for Frankford Avenue and Decatur Street.

One man suggested allowing the State Road location to open because it is in a somewhat industrial area. If it opens, he argued, the clinic on Frankford Avenue — which would be close to houses, schools, churches and businesses — would be less likely to win approval.

“Let Sweet Lucy’s move,” he said.

However, he was in the minority.

Rich Frizell, president of the civic association, said before the vote that the executive board was in opposition. The board and representatives of other local civic groups and elected officials had met with the operator, NorthEast Treatment Centers, on Oct. 16.

On Election Day, opponents collected about 300 signatures on a petition.

Frizell views the clinic as further industrialization of a corridor just west of the Delaware River waterfront, where a long-delayed development plan includes housing. Fluke’s Pub is a block away.

State Road, he noted, already is home to multiple prisons and thousands of inmates, and he doesn’t think it would be fair to add a methadone clinic.

Methadone is used to wean people off drugs, and Frizell acknowledged that there is a drug problem in Holmesburg and the Northeast. Still, he and others questioned whether methadone is effective. He believes a 60,000-square-foot building is too large, and he expects NET to eventually expand if the clinic is given initial approval.

NET will seek to win a variance at a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

“We hope all of Holmesburg will show up and say, ‘Please, no,’”Frizell said.

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Meanwhile, a hearing is scheduled in Common Pleas Court on Dec. 5, as operators of a planned methadone clinic at 7900–04 Frankford Ave. appeal a ruling by the ZBA to revoke permits that were issued by the city Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Dawn Tancredi, attorney for neighbors opposed to the clinic, explained that both sides have submitted briefs. She does not believe the commercially zoned property allows a methadone clinic. The Healing Way contends that a C-2 zoning permits a clinic by right.

Tancredi said Judge Idee C. Fox could rule that day or hold the matter under advisement. The loser of the court case almost certainly will appeal to Commonwealth Court.

“That could last another six months to a year,” Tancredi said.

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Joe Kruvczuk, a science teacher, edged Renee Cohen, a lawyer, by a vote of 9–8 to win the civic association’s vacant vice presidential post. Barb Kleschick was unopposed for another term as treasurer. Kruvczuk and Kleschick will serve two-year terms.

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The offices of state Rep. Kevin Boyle are collecting non-perishable food items through Christmas. The food will be donated to local organizations for distribution to the needy.

The offices are located at 7518 Frankford Ave. in Holmesburg and 7801-A Hasbrook Ave. in Fox Chase. Call 215–695–1016.

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City Councilman Bobby Henon has arranged for the Council Public Safety and Licenses and Inspections committees to hold a joint hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m., at St. Bernard parish hall, at 4427 Aldine St.

The hearing will target so-called “bad neighbors.”

Henon recently formed a Problem Properties Advisory Council, which met for the first time last week in Bridesburg.

Anyone wanting to report a problem property can call Henon’s office at 215–686–3444.

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Holmesburg Civic Association’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7:15 p.m., at the Holmesburg Recreation Center, Rhawn and Ditman streets. ••

Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215–354–3034 or twaring@bsmphilly.com