Welcome to the WhitpainResidents.org Website

 
WhitpainResidents.org (WRO) is a group of Whitpain Township residents, volunteering our time to preserve and build the quality of life in our township.  We focus on "responsible development" in order to treat the limited land we have as a precious resource.  Many Whitpain residents have lived here for decades - some for a lifetime - and remember fondly "the way things used to be."
 
We cannot go back in time, but we can pay attention to the future. Progress is inevitable, but chaos is not. 
 

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SPECIAL INFORMATION: Whitpain Sober House

A property owner has submitted a request (variance 2161-18) to allow the home at 813 Stonybrook Drive (a 3 bedroom, 1800 sq ft house) to be used as a "Sober House" and rented as a rooming house for as many as 9 recovering addicts. As unusual as this sounds, it is a problem that has proliferated in other municipalities.
 
Bristol Township in lower Bucks has been inundated with an estimated 150 Sober Houses just in Bristol. (Philadelphia estimates are over 250). Since they are unregulated, nobody really knows the numbers. https://whyy.org/articles/unregulated-and-unstoppable-recovery-houses-boom-in-lower-bucks/   In December 2017, Governor Wolf signed legislation [https://whyy.org/articles/wolf-signs-law-regulate-recovery-homes-pa] to create a certification process controlled by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to regulate these facilities. While it sounds like a first step, it won't have any impact.  It is basically worthless.
 

The problem is that handicapped / disabled individuals are protected by the US Fair Housing Act (FHA), and the law has long established that addiction is a protected disability. Here is a good write-up explaining the FHA requirement for recovering addicts: http://www.agclawfirm-alerts.com/files/Sober_Living_Homes_and_the_Fair_Housing_Act_060111_.pdf  

It must be clear that actions to this situation cannot discriminate against the people renting. It is not about the type of individual; it is about overcrowded multi-tenant renting within residential zoning. It doesn't matter if the renters are recovering addicts, fraternity boys, or random people, the issue is with the structure of the rentals, not the renters.

We believe this proposal is detrimental to the existing residents of the Stonybrook neighborhood AND it is predatory to the targeted renters of the Sober House that would be taken advantage of in such a facility.

WRO and involved neighbors have hired legal representation and are working to try and prevent this predatory proposal.
 
Here is information from the Township website and their introductory presentation: http://www.whitpaintownship.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=133
 
ZONING HEARING BOARD: The Whitpain Zoning Hearing Board owns the ultimate decision as to if this proposal should be granted or denied.  Given the pressures from the FHA and the ADA, many people (including the property owner) think it is a done-deal, but there are many flaws with the plan and it must be reviewed in detail.
 
The hearing began on January 17 and has been continued to Feb 13. 
 
 
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
 
Sign our online petition at Change.org: https://tinyurl.com/813StonyBrook
 
Attend the Upcoming Township meeting:
 
    Zoning Hearing Board
Date: Wednesday, February 13 at 6 p.m. 
Location: Montgomery County Community College, Science Center Building, Room 213 
 
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If you are a resident of Whitpain Township, please click here to join WRO and get on our mailing list.

Donations help defray expenses and are greatly appreciated.

If you have a general comment about this website or issues within Whitpain Township, please let us know. We are interested in your thoughts and suggestions.

Email: contact@whitpainresidents.org