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Trumbauersville Council to Seek Legal Advice on Recovery House
Written by Jennifer Butler, Correspondent

            Last Thursday, discussion continued around the proposed recovery house at 20 East Broad Street in Trumbauersville. After the discussion, borough council agreed to seek legal advice on options and next steps.

            Council President Edward Child began the meeting by announcing the retirement of borough solicitor Gregory Ghen.  According to Child, Ghen served the borough for 27 years.

            Officials will begin steps to hire a new solicitor immediately.  However, Child proposed that, in the meantime, council seek an attorney specific to the recovery house. Child also summarized a joint statement from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Justice that reiterates key elements of the Fair Housing Act.

            "Basically, what it says is almost anything we attempt to do to deny the recovery house at 20 East Broad would be in violation of the Fair Housing Act," Child said.

            While representatives from JBKM Sullivan LLC, property owners who plan to operate the for-profit recovery house, were there Thursday night, advocacy for the project came from Kim Hogan, Executive Director of Hope Against Heroin.

            While Hogan is not affiliated with JBKM Sullivan in any way, she spoke to the need for a recovery house in the area.

            "We live in this little area of upper Bucks county. All of our kids that are getting addicted to heroin and needing help are getting shipped to the lower end," Hogan said. "They are getting jobs down there, they are supporting the economy down there and they are away from their families."

            Hogan also explained that recovery houses are an important step in recovery and all have policies in place to ensure residents have not relapsed.

            "The milieu of a recovery house is very important for helping these young people stay sober," Hogan added.

            Objections raised against the conversion of the single-family dwelling to a recovery house focused on the number of residents and potential to subdivide bedrooms. Councilman Frederick Potter noted that if the recovery house was limited to six residents, there would not be a zoning issue. Potter added that, with two bathrooms, a shared kitchen space and no fire suppression system, ten residents is excessive."

            "I can't believe there is nothing that limits the number of people that can live there," Potter said. "Otherwise you are going from operating a facility to being a slumlord."

            "I'm sorry I don't buy it and we are going to try to defend the rights of the people who would be living there," he added.

            Council will opt to hold their monthly work session on August 15, advertised annually to occur if needed. Child hopes to have an attorney attend the meeting to offer some advice on next steps. He cautioned, however, that council will need to be mindful of the amount invested in legal consult around the issue.

            "If we spend $1,000, $2,000 to find out what we need to know and if we should go forward or not its probably worth the money," Child said. "At some point though, you've got to determine at what time do you just stop. Do you spend $20,000 or $50,000 or just stop?"

            In other business Thursday night, Child announced final amounts associated with the purchase of the Gruver property, adjacent to Veterans Park in the borough. According to Child, the borough paid $400,000 for the property with an additional $9,000 in fees. The borough received grants from both Bucks County and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources totaling $365,000. The property was appraised at $800,000.

            "For $44,000, we got an $800,000 property that is permanently preserved now for the borough," Child said.





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