CROSS KEYS - Allegheny Township is likely to become the location of three methadone treatment facilities within a five-mile radius.
Supervisors Chairman David Burchfield Jr. told about 10 residents Monday night that supervisors cannot keep methadone treatment facilities from locating inside the township.
"As with any business, if they go through the proper procedures and meet building code requirements, we're obligated to grant them any permits within our ordinances,'' Burchfield said.
That didn't sit well with residents who live near Sugar Run Plaza, Route 764, between Altoona and Cross Keys. The township received a building permit application proposing remodeling work to create an outpatient treatment facility at Sugar Run Plaza.
"There is no place on the application that says methadone, but that doesn't mean it's not going to be a methadone clinic,'' Burchfield said.
Residents said they fear the consequences of heroin addicts driving daily through their area to seek treatment at the facility. Jim Lafferty of Burns Avenue warned supervisors that if they do nothing and a clinic is created, he will hold supervisors responsible for what happens.
''You let 'em in here,'' Lafferty said.
Gary Hammel said he doesn't understand why supervisors cannot protect their residents and property values.
''Who's going to want to buy our properties, next to a methadone clinic?'' Hammel asked.
Neighbor Al Moyer said he understands people need treatment but asked why a clinic can locate 178 feet from his house.
''And three clinics within five miles?" Moyer said. "You've got to be kidding.''
Inside the township, Pyramid Healthcare administers methadone treatments at its outpatient facility on Sellers Drive and at its inpatient facility in the former Blair Christian Home.
Burchfield suggested residents take their concerns to Sugar Run Plaza owner Baxter Caldwell.
''Nobody can find him,'' Moyer said outside the township building.
Earlier this year, Discovery House proposed creating the third methadone treatment facility at the Foot of Ten area, then withdrew their plans. Residents in that area protested, and supervisors asked for land development plans in line with ordinances.
Land development plans for Sugar Run Plaza, as a building available for lease, were submitted and approved before it was constructed.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.