Stonebridge decision likely to be appealed

The Chadds Ford Zoning Hearing Board, in a 3-0 decision, turned down a request to use a Webb Road home as a substance abuse rehab center. The decision could be appealed to federal court.

Drew and Nicole Barnabei, owners of Stonebridge Mansion at 681 Webb Road, wanted to use their 25-room house as a residential lifestyle modification treatment facility for substance abusers who would have already gone through detox and were substance free. Up to 15 patients would have been on the premises at a time for anywhere for 30 to 90 days.

According to Nicole Barnabei, she had requested such a use from the township, but was turned down. She went to federal court, she said, but was told there that the court could do nothing unless she first went through the zoning hearing process.

The Barnabeis’ attorney, Jim Byrne, had said that denying the application would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fair Housing Act.

He said after the Dec. 29 decision that he would confer with his clients, but that an appeal to federal court is likely.

In giving their reasons, all three members of the Zoning Hearing Board – Bob Reardon, Lisa Chismire and Paul Koch – each said the use was inconsistent with the R-1 zoning restrictions, that using the home as a rehab facility would constitute commercial use, not residential.

The Barnabeis had previously wanted to use the property as a for-profit wedding venue, but the Zoning Hearing Board denied that application for the same reason two years ago.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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