The MLO Minute
The development of a new program for individuals with chronic, but non-acute, mental illness presents many challenges. These hurdles include a variety of local and state regulatory issues, and where a residential program is involved, obtaining zoning approval is both difficult and necessary. Several years ago, the Widger family approached Dennis McAndrews to develop a cutting-edge residential program for individuals such as their son, Clark, who found success in a Massachusetts mental health program but wished to live closer to home in suburban Philadelphia. His parents, Chuck and Barbara Widger, and his sister, Ashley, spearheaded this effort which required identifying a professional partner, obtaining a suitable home, and obtaining zoning approval. This complex process has taken several years, but now Clark’s Manor is a reality, and is now accepting applicants for this magnificent private pay program.
Most recently, a series of five conditional use zoning hearings were held in Delaware County, Pennsylvania which resulted in final zoning approval for Clark’s Manor. Mr. McAndrews was joined by Nicholas Caniglia, Esq., a local zoning expert, in presenting an extensive and compelling case that Clark’s Manor is a permitted use not only under local zoning law, but also pursuant to the Federal Fair Housing Act. At the conclusion of these lengthy hearings, which spanned nine months, most of which were conducted virtually due to the current pandemic, the local municipality voted to approve the zoning application of Clark’s Manor.