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. 



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 and 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 shoul not be allowed.
The hearing began on January 17 and has continued on February 13 and April 24.  Testimony has concluded but activities continue with written submissions and legal oral presentations.  We currently expect the decision to be announced at the July 18 ZHB meeting.

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.  We volunteer our time, but our lawyer does not!  we also have ongoing expenses fro our website and email provider.

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