Devereux Seeks Approval To Expand School, Hospital

Posted: January 07, 1990

The Willistown Township Planning Commission has been asked to consider a Devereux Foundation proposal to expand the educational and mental hospital facilities at its 154-acre Mapleton Campus on Sugartown Road.

Planning Commission Chairman Donald A. Mancini, however, told several Devereux representatives at a Wednesday meeting that the proposal may have to be brought before the township zoning board before the Planning Commission can make any recommendation.

Devereux, a nonprofit organization, purchased land in the township in 1957 to run a school and hospital facility for children and adolescents with emotional or psychiatric problems, said John Jaros, an attorney representing Devereux.

At the time, the township zoning board granted Devereux a special exception to use the property for an educational and mental hospital, Jaros told the

commission.

The property is in an area zoned residential, township manager William A. Rosenberry said.

Devereux wants to expand its facilities based on the 1957 special exception, said Jaros, adding that he thought another meeting with the Zoning Hearing Board was not necessary.

"We're not proposing to do anything new on the campus, or anything that we are not licensed to do," Jaros said Thursday.

Rosenberry, who is also the township zoning officer, said Thursday that the zoning board must be consulted each time a change was made in a special exception.

This procedure prevents any person or group from having "carte blanche" when it comes to expansion, he said.

Rosenberry said he would review the expansion proposal with the township solicitor and contact Devereux with a recommendation this week.

On the Devereux Mapleton Campus, there are 11 buildings that are used for 100 day-school students, about 86 residential clients and administrative offices, Jaros said.

The organization's expansion proposal, which includes new construction and renovation of existing buildings, consists of a new 100-bed psychiatiric care facility, a gymnasium and four 16-bed residential buildings, he said.

The expansion would be completed within five years, Jaros said.

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