Philadelphia City Council has approved a bill that would give residents in Northeast Philadelphia new powers to fight any medical facilities opening in the area.
At Thursday’s session, Councilman Brian O’Neill said there are already plenty of medical facilities in his district, and his bill would require anyone hoping to open a new one to seek a zoning varience.
“The new zoning code pretty much allows anything that could be turned medical,” O’Neill said. “This makes it clear in the new code, unless you are going into an industrial area, a heavy industrial area that is not near any homes, you’ve got to meet with the neighbors, and the way to meet with the neighbors is you ask for a zoning varience.”
Residents have fought hard to keep two proposed methadone clinics out of the Northeast in recent years.
Co-sponsor Bobby Henon wouldn’t say the intent of the bill was to stop new methodone clinics from opening in his or Councilman O’Neill’s district.
“I have two commercial corridors and I’m excited about the growth the community partnered with the planning commission,” Henon said, adding that residents should have their say on what kinds of businesses inhabit those retail areas.
A physicians group complained that the requirement for a zoning variance will make it harder to bring more doctors and dentists into the city.