Residents concerned over the proposed drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Hamburg may finally see some action on the issue next week.An appeal hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. in borough hall to discuss the zoning permit denied by Hamburg several weeks ago.
Then, Zoning Officer John Leonforte denied Firetree Ltd.'s zoning permit because of unresolved parking issues and empty space concerns the company did not address when it submitted its plans to use a former knitting mill in the borough.
In March, Alcat Reentry Centers Inc. bought the former Wright's Knitting Mill at Second and Pine streets in Hamburg for $1.5 million. Alcat is an affiliate company of Firetree, a non-profit organization.
It was then that Firetree announced it planned to move a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility here.
The announcement immediately hit strong resistance locally and since, a community group has tried to lead an effort to prevent Fire tree from locating its "halfway house" in Hamburg.
According to sources, even State Rep. David G. Argall has been trying to adopt legislation in Harrisburg which could prevent, or at least create a moratorium on such facilities opening in Hamburg.
No further developments have come from the Capitol on any such law.
Hamburg officials have been mum on the topic since denying the zoning permit.
However, the borough has since instructed its solicitor, James Zubey, to follow the recommendations of the borough Planning Commission in amending the Rehabilitation Centers ordinance Hamburg's already adopted.
Absolutely no borough official could comment on those amendments, and at least one borough council representative wasn't even sure what the amendments were when it was voted upon in mid-July.
At last week's borough council meeting, during which a new council person was welcomed to the board, the issue was not approached.
Two weeks ago, Firetree Chairman Allan Ertl told The Item his company plans to move forward with plans to occupy the former knitting mill in Hamburg despite numerous complications surrounding his organization.