“Hearing request postponed”

This article found in the Tuesday, December 16, 2008edition of The Times-Herald in Norristown offers an update as to where things are at with Vision Quest’s proposal to utilize building 12 on Norristown State Hospital grounds to house 100+ male teens who are in need of emergency crisis services.  this particular article seems to indicate that Vision Quest has a green light to move in, but I feel like there is more to the story then what is in the article. 

This article can be found at the following address … http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2008/12/16/news/doc494729b1eeb78123847051.txt 

Hearing request postponed


Tuesday, December 16, 2008 1:18 AM EST

Times Herald Staff

NORRISTOWN — An emergency court hearing on Norristown’s request for an injunction against a proposal for youth housing and treatment in Building 12 at Norristown State Hospital was postponed Monday afternoon in Harrisburg.

The postponement of the hearing before a Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania judge happened after Norristown officials, Norristown Solicitor Todd Eisenberg and representatives of Vision Quest of Downingtown, Chester County, and Tucson, Ariz., and the state Department of General Services (DGS) apparently agreed Vision Quest would apply for a use variance and a public hearing before the Norristown Zoning Hearing Board, said Municipal Administrator David Forrest.

A proposal to use Building 12 on the hospital grounds for 12-to-18-year-old youth needing “emergency or crisis diagnostic services” has run into major opposition from West End neighbors, municipal officials and two state representatives.

In a Nov. 26 letter to Norristown Zoning Officer Jayne Musonye, the director of the Bureau of Real Estate for the state General Services department asserted the department’s right to use the building.

“The intended use is clearly a permitted use and also a necessary function that is critical to the delivery of services required by the (state Department of Public Welfare) DPW,” said Joanne Phillips, the real estate director. “The Department of General Services is advising Vision Quest that they have fully complied with their lease agreement with the Commonwealth and we are authorizing Vision Quest to initiate occupancy of Building 12 at Norristown State Hospital.”

That state letter prompted Norristown to seek the injunction.

A 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, meeting at Hancock Fire Co., 820 W. Airy St., Norristown with Ward 1 and Ward 2 residents will include a discussion of the Vision Quest proposal.

Council President Mila Hayes and Councilman William Caldwell, the representatives of the two wards, will moderate the discussion.  

Last week state Rep. Mike Vereb, R-150th Dist., said his opposition to the proposal started with “the lack of notification to the community.”

Carl Rotenberg can be reached at crotenberg@timesherald.com or 610-272-2500, ext. 350.