Meeting Minutes: September 3rd, 2013

Baynton Hill Neighbors

September 3rd, 2013

Call to order at 7:10p

Approximately 45 neighbors from Coulter, Wakefield, Bringhurst, Queen Lane and Baynton St. were present.

Ross Hennesy gave an introduction to those in attendance, giving a brief history of Baynton Hill Neighbors (BHN).

  • BHN contact is mostly via email lists but will try to contact via phone numbers if individuals don’t have email access.
  • Ross explained how in the void left by Germantown Settlement and Wister NAC, BHN is attempting to serve as a collective voice for the neighborhood. A representative from Wister Neighborhood Council corrected Ross explaining how although the NAC was lost, WNC still exists and wants to coordinate
  • District Office Chief of Staff from State Rep. Kinsey introduced himself, and says his office is interested in working with our group. Contact: Stacey A. Wright, (215) 849-6592, swright@pahouse.net.

Yard Party/ Potluck

  • Voting members agreed to move the date from September 15th to Sept 14th @ 5pm. It is a potluck and everyone in the neighborhood is invited. If it rains, the event will be held indoors.

PGW Gas works

  • Chris Paulmier announced potholes at Baynton/Church & Baynton/Penn from recent gas works projects.
  • Tripping hazards developing.

SEPTA Fence

  • Ross was contacted by SEPTA for input on fence.
  • Community is concerned about the safety and appearance. Septa feedback was that repairing was not feasible and so the fence will be replaced.
  • BHN requests that the fence is repaired and painted. If it must be replaced, it should be replaced with wrought iron. BHN is not interested in replacing it with chain link and would rather it stay.
  • BHN requests that the artwork stay.
  • BHN requests that SEPTA be mindful of the foliage that grows behind the fence, and request that it

is landscaped and cared for, instead of overgrown with periodic herbicide spraying. There was some interest in helping care for this.

Police Roll Call

  • Another shooting occurred in August at Baynton & Coulter intersection
  • Kathy Paulmier’s police contacts encourage us to contact Capt. Fleming at 215-686-3140 (3141), ask for “a supervisor” to make a “complaint roll call” in order to receive additional police attention.
  • Patrols will be alerted in the morning as to all “roll call complaints”
  • Stacey (from Rep Kinsey) recommends roll call, call 911, and give him notice so his office call follow up additionally.
  • Roll call is not for crimes only, but can be used to preempt crimes if there is a pressing concern.

234 E Penn Plans

  • Ross invited the developers of that property to come talk and give facts and receive our feedback.
  • Ross asked that all in attendance be respectful and keep our questions for after the full presentation.
  • Presentation summary, details are supplemented by a packet handout:
    • Matthew Green (developer/real estate) & Devon Reaves (recovery specialist/social work)
    • Mathew and Devin hope to start Brotherly Love House. To date, their outreach consisted of informing local politicians
  • Matthew and Devin each explained their skills and qualifications in the area of drug rehabilitation, professional associations they are part of, and real estate experience.
  • Details were given about what is “addiction”, it was described as a disease.
  • Process: detox (medical), in-patient treatment, then a) move into private home, or b) recovery housing and lastly, long-term recovery.
  • Devon’s experience with recovery residences are that they are more effective than other systems.
  • Treatment center vs Recovery residences: the latter is more about self/community help programs, not treatments
  • Brotherly Love House: Level III facility, affiliated with various groups.
  • Up to 75,000 people in treatment for addiction in the city in a given year, city reports less than 2000 beds available for those people.
  • Goal is to be premier provider of recovery residences in Philadelphia
  • American Planning Associations claim the recovery houses have no impact on surrounding home values
  • Questions and concerns:

Concern: One individual who buys and sells real estate explained how he could not use the facility as a “comparable” since it would be a group home.

Q: Why place the home in a house within a residential neighborhood as opposed to rehabbing a non-residential building, ie an abandoned factory?

A: That would be ideal, but they don’t have enough money.

Concern: Penn St is a path for children from Belfield towards Wister School.

Q: How were they able to start without getting a zoning variance?

A: This is the beginning of the zoning processes, (mostly) only started construction on exterior work and BHN will be notified when the hearing will be.

Concern: Community feels “dumped on” – methadone clinic, sex offenders in the neighborhood, not a lot of warning, consider the children and property values. Community would like a family rather than a “program” to live in 234 E. Penn.

Q: How many people are proposed to live there?

A: 17-20

Q: How long is the program? How will they cycle through?

A: It is currently a 12 bedroom house. Each addict makes a 6-12 month commitment, but the length is up to the individual.

Concern: Some recovering addicts are good, and some aren’t.

Response: Brotherly Love does not do work release or receive outside funding, no RHD. The individuals pay for their own treatment.

Q: Is it good for recovering addicts to have a home so close to “open air” drug markets?

A: In the city, drugs are everywhere

Q: Are there other potential uses for the house?

A: Maybe

Q: Did you do research as to proximity to schools and other group homes?

A: Unclear / No answer

Conclusion: BHN understands the need in the city for drug recovery facilities, but this is not the right place for it (group strongly agrees)

  • Helen Nicholson reminded neighbors that this block once had a well run facility that deteriorated and became a serious problem to the neighborhood.
  • Neighbors were reminded to watch for zoning info and come to the zoning meeting.
  • It was suggested by one attender that other facilities might be more agreeable, such as elderly housing.
  • Chris Nicholson thanked Ross Hennesy for organizing and facilitating.

Adjourned at 8:50p