A proposal to operate a “sober house” in the Flourtown section of Whitemarsh Township has a hearing before the Whitemarsh Township Zoning Hearing Board on Thursday, May 17th at 7:00 p.m. The property involved is 650 Church Road. The notice states:
ZHB#2017-42: Legacy House, LLC, 650 Church Road, Flourtown, PA; Parcel #65-00-02200-00-3, Block #057A; Unit #053; A-Residential District; Recreational District Overlay. The Applicant operates a “Sober House,” a mid-to long-term residential home for disabled persons suffering from addiction disorders, at the Property. The Applicant is requesting the following relief with respect to this use: 1. The Applicant requests a Special Exception under Section 116-36.1 for use of the property as a Group Home known as a “Sober House”, along with any variances from the definition of “Group Home” in Section 116-11 as needed to the extent that the Sober House proposed use may differ from said definition. 2. In the alternative, the Applicant appeals the decision of the Zoning Officer dated September 15, 2017, and requests that the Zoning Hearing Board grant a reasonable accommodation to allow the proposed use to qualify as a “family” as defined by Section 116-11, with a related request for a variance from the “non-profit” requirement in the Ordinance. This application was granted a continuance at the January 3, 2018 meeting; a further continuance to April 11, 2018 was granted at the February 28, 2018 meeting; by letter dated April 3, 2018, the applicant’s attorney has requested a continuance. The hearing will be continued on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm.
Here are the definitions from the township’s zoning code that are mentioned in the notice:
A residential facility used as living quarters by any number of unrelated persons requiring special care, and their attendant adult supervisors, specifically designed to create a residential setting for the mentally and physically handicapped (as a special exception). The individuals may be either transient or permanent residents. Any number of handicapped persons, as defined in Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, have the right to occupy a dwelling unit in the same manner and to the same extent as any family unit.
[Added 8-30-1984 by Ord. No. 494; amended 2-24-1994 by Ord. No. 659; 3-28-2013 by Ord. No. 925]
[Amended 8-30-1984 by Ord. No. 494; 2-24-1994 by Ord. No. 659; 3-28-2013 by Ord. No. 925]
A. Any number of individuals living together on a nontransient basis as a single housekeeping unit and doing their cooking on the premises, when said individuals are related by blood, marriage or adoption, including any number of foster children; no more than five unrelated individuals living together as a single housekeeping unit and doing their cooking on the premises, except when an application for a special exception to enable a greater number of unrelated individuals to occupy a dwelling unit is reviewed and approved by the Zoning Hearing Board, as provided in this chapter. The definition of “family” shall not apply to the occupants of a club, fraternity house, lodge or residential club.
B. Notwithstanding the definition in Subsection A of this definition, a “family” shall also be deemed to include any number of mentally or physically handicapped persons occupying a dwelling unit as a single, nonprofit housekeeping unit, if such occupants are handicapped persons as defined in Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.