The state has issued a license that will allow The Healing Way to open and operate a methadone clinic on Frankford Avenue in Holmesburg, Councilman Bobby Henon's office said Friday afternoon.
Henon previously said that he would pay for an appeal of a court decision that upheld the clinic's right to open in solidarity with a group of neighbors who have been trying to prevent the clinic from opening there for years. The neighbors had been arguing that the clinic shouldn't open there based on zoning law, but a judge found their legal arguments to have "no merit." The appeal of that decision is still pending.
The license was issued sometime this week, Councilman Henon's office said. Read a statement from Councilman Henon, State Senator Mike Stack, and a handful of other Philadelphia-area politicians below. PlanPhilly will update this story.
(Philadelphia) – Northeast Philadelphia community leaders and elected officials, who remain united in opposition to the proposed Healing Way methadone dispensary, issued the following statement in response to the latest developments in the licensing process:
“While we continue to aggressively pursue our opposition through the legal system, we are urging residents, business owners, school officials and local workers to prepare for the reality that the Healing Way methadone dispensing facility is going to open on Frankford Ave.
Though our appeal to the state Supreme Court is still pending, the recent Commonwealth Court decision makes it clear that it is shortsighted to rely entirely on the court system to prevent the disruption to our neighborhoods and the erosion of our quality of life.
While it seems to defy reality to pretend that treating hundreds of drug addicts every day will have the same community impact as any other medical facility, that is the current state of our laws and we must acknowledge that.
Still, there is much we can do to preserve our community.
First, we must push forward with proposed changes to those laws to prevent this situation from being repeated in other communities across the Commonwealth.
Second, many of the problems associated with the methadone-for-money dispensation are not protected by law and can be mitigated by community action and vigilance.
We are working closely with city departments to ensure that zoning, health, tax and facilities laws are followed and that deviations are addressed promptly and decisively.
Once the Healing Way does open for business, its operators should understand that it is doing business in a community fiercely intent on protecting its schools, its children, its businesses and its way of life.
Today, we continue to invest in our appeal through the legal process, but we have also begun to prepare Protocols of Protection for our community that includes a listing of contacts, resources and instructions for calling police, zoning officials and the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) in the event of disruptive behavior related to the facility.
Should the courts fail to protect the community, that job will fall to us.”
Congressman Robert Brady
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz
State Senator Michael Stack
State Representative Kevin Boyle
State Representative John Taylor
State Representative Michael McGeehan
City Councilman Bobby Henon
Jared Brey is a freelance reporter based in Philadelphia. His work has been featured in Philadelphia magazine, Hidden City, The Philadelphia Inquirer, City & State, and other publications. He covered development, zoning policy, historic preservation, and city government for PlanPhilly from 2011-2016.