Discovery House approval tabled

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Planning Commission will wait until next month to make a decision on whether land development plans for the Discovery House, a methadone treatment facility in Pike Township, will be approved. The commission voted unanimously to table the decision until their June meeting on Monday night.

The commission has yet to receive a valid highway occupancy permit for the plans, something the commission requires before making a decision. Another aspect that has delayed the approval of the plan is the lack of information regarding the facility’s sewage system. The Pike Township Supervisors said the system on the current site is adequate, but a sewage enforcement officer has not weighed in on the matter.

Discovery House submitted plans for an expanded facility after the clinic was burned in January.

Richard Hughes, a Clearfield engineer, said the sewage system on the site is meant for a facility with six employees. He said the 100 people per day who use the clinic and the 400 people who are expected to use it – if the plans for reconstruction are approved – were not accounted for with the sewage system.

“You don’t have to be an engineer to realize that something’s funny here,” Hughes said.

The 400 patients who will use the clinic after the expansion also worried Dave Walker of Pike Township. He told the commission the nearby Rails to Trails is a park, a designation that could prohibit the clinic’s plans from being approved.

However, the decision on whether the trail between Clearfield and Grampian can be called a park has yet to be made. The 12.5-mile trail, used for walking and biking, is frequented by thousands every year, and with those people so close to the clinic, Walker asked the commission whether this was a safe location for such a facility.

“Twelve hundred people in eight days signed a petition (against the clinic), and we all have realized the effect of something like this.”

Cherie Harris of Reynoldsville told the commission she has used the clinic in Pike Township since August for treatment due to a heroin addiction. She told the commission that through treatment there and in other places, she has not used heroin for about two and a half years.

“I depend on this to stay clean,” Harris said.

“If it does not make our requirements, we will have to turn it down,” responded Paul Winslow, planning commission chairman.

The plans for rebuilding Discovery House were submitted about 60 days ago, and the commission has a total of 90 days to make a decision. If, at that time, no decision is made, the plans will be automatically approved.

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