Rehab Clinics Resisted … Again

It is a familiar story. Developer proposes a drug clinic of some sort, and the neighboring residents protest, attempting to stop the clinic from opening in their back yards. The latest telling of this story occurs in Allegheny Township, Blair County, where residents are seeking to stop the development of two separate clinics.

I can understand it completely. In fact, in several instances, I have helped municipalities successfully prevent methadone clinics from opening. It is especially difficult, however, and even more so now that a federal court last year ruled that a Pennsylvania law regulating the location of such clinics was unlawful.

The residents in Allegheny Township have asked the Supervisors to declare a 6 month moratorium on the development of drug rehab facilities, so the issue can be studied. Unfortunately for the residents, though, townships do not have such authority. The Township cannot simply declare that these businesses can operate any more than they can prohibit any other lawful business from operating.

At this point, it will be up to the developers to meet all of the regulatory requirements they must meet before being able to open. As long as they can meet those, however, there is nothing that the township can do to outright prohibit rehab clinics within their borders.


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