Mayfair Civic decides not to oppose rehab center

Resources for Human Development wants to set up a residential facility in Mayfair for people suffering from medical problems and drug addiction.

Susan Gueye, director of Resources for Human Development’s NOVA III program, speaks Jan. 28 at the Mayfair Civic Association meeting. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Mayfair Civic Association members narrowly voted last week not to oppose a permit for a rehabilitation facility across from Abraham Lincoln High School.

Resources for Human Development has applied to turn a long-vacant property at 7378 Rowland Ave. into a residential center for “medically fragile” people who are also recovering from addiction.

Residents at the Jan. 28 civic meeting voted 12-8 in favor of the facility after a lengthy discussion. The vote was for a temporary variance for RHD with a three-year probationary period.

RHD wants to relocate its N.O.V.A. III program from 1100 W. Godfrey Ave. in North Philadelphia to the Rowland Avenue property, which most recently served as Sean Kilkenny’s campaign office and was previously a real estate office.

The permit would allow RHD to house up to 14 people in a long-term residential treatment program. Each person would have their own room, RHD representatives said.

Susan Gueye, the program’s director, said N.O.V.A. III’s patients deal with serious health issues along with addiction. Many are seniors and some are homeless, she said.

“We are excellent neighbors,” Gueye told residents.

Gueye said the center would have a nurse 24 hours a day and at least three staff members on duty at all times

In response to questions from residents, Gueye and the other RHD representatives estimated that about 40 percent of the program’s patients are being treated with methadone, a drug used to help people recovering from opioid abuse.

The case was heard by the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Jan. 23 but a decision was held for community input.

In other news from the Jan. 28 MCA meeting:

MCA president Donny Smith said the association is in the process of transferring a triangle-shaped rear lot at 7315-33 Crispin St. to the Mayfair Community Development Corporation. 

The civic association purchased the lot more than 10 years ago in the hope of developing it, according to Smith. Then, the group decided to try to subdivide the property and sell the parcels to the 38 people whose homes back up to the lot.

Ultimately, the process proved too difficult and maintaining the lot has become too much to handle, Smith said.

Mayfair CDC Executive Director Marc Collazzo said the CDC will maintain the lot and come back to the community in the coming months to determine how best to use the property.

Police Capt. John Walker, who took over the 15th District in December, and new Community Relations Officer Megan McLaughlin introduced themselves to Mayfair residents.

Walker said he has deployed additional officers to Frankford to try to get crime in that neighborhood under control. The 15th District dealt with 200,000 radio calls last year, he said.

“Unfortunately… the areas up here that probably need some service don’t get because of the stuff that goes on in this big district,” Walker said.

Walker also said that he wants to set up “areas of responsibility” within the district. These areas would be smaller than police service areas, or PSAs, and officers would be assigned to the same region every day, he said.

The MCA unanimously voted not to oppose a duplex at 3101 Glenview St. James Brown, the site’s owner, said he believed the property had been a duplex for years before the designation was allowed to lapse under the previous owner.

The Mayfair Civic Association’s next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, March 18, at the Mayfair Community Center, St. Vincent and Battersby streets. Check the group’s website or Facebook page for special zoning meetings before then. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com