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. ••