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The Philadelphia zoning board declared at a hearing on Wednesday that the city's only secure youth detention facility - the Youth Study Center - is permitted by the zoning code to relocate to 48th and Haverford streets in West Philadelphia.

That doesn't mean the city can begin constructing the new center yet, however.

The facility "can go there, but the burden of proof of whether it should is on the side of the people protesting the move," said Lynette Brown-Snow, a member of the ZBA.

Furthermore, the Department of License and Inspections objects to a few details of the new center's proposed design, including the fence height and the setback of the side of the building that will face 48th Street.

Although several residents of the area around 48th and Haverford streets attended Wednesday's hearing to testify against the center's relocation, the ZBA had to move on to other matters before the city officials supporting the relocation had finished making their case.

At a second hearing yet to be scheduled, the ZBA will hear both sides' complete testimony.

Four youths have escaped from the Youth Study Center's temporary location in northwest Philadelphia, but the new facility will have state-of-the-art security to prevent that, according to Edward Jefferson, the city's attorney on the matter.

"This facility will not in any way impair the health, wealth or safety of the community," he said.

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