Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Zoners Decline to Pray, But Have Mercy on Atiyeh

"May God Have Mercy on Your Soul!"
Love him or hate him, there's no dispute that real estate maven Abe Atiyeh has had one devil of time developing a 5-acre parcel at Dewberry Avenue and Center Street. He had approval for a 126-unit assisted living center a the site, only to discover that the market was saturated. His next gambit was a 102-unit luxury apartment complex, but zoners refused to go along. He next proposed a 125-bed inpatient drug and alcohol detox center, along with a psychiatric hospital. Planners nixed that idea.

He's b-a-a-a-ck. This time, he's seeking a zoning stamp of approval on a slightly scaled down version of his original luxury apartment submission. He still wants to erect three 44' high apartment buildings, but has reduced the number of proposed apartments from 102 to 96.

Despite buckets of rain cascading throughout Bethlehem on November 22, twenty hearty souls still managed to find their way to the Bethlehem Public Library, where the Zoning Hearing Board would conduct a special meeting on Atiyeh's latest request. But Atiyeh himself failed to appear, and his attorney explained why.

But before any of that could happen, audience member Jane Lynn, of Bethlehem Township, suggested zoners should start their quasi-judicial hearing with a prayer. When they hesitated, she asked, "Don't you know how to pray?"

Chairman Gus Loupos told her some people might be offended. Lynn cried out to the audience, "Is there anyone hear who would be offended by a prayer?"

Atiyeh Attorney Jim Preston reluctantly raised his hand and objected.

"May God have mercy on your soul!" Lynn declared.

After being condemned to eternal damnation, Attorney Preston explained why he needed a continuance. When zoners ruled against Atiyeh's original request for a luxury apartment complex, the decision was appealed to Northampton County. Unknown to Attorney Preston until late last week, Judge Baratta has upheld the Zoning Hearing Board denial of a use variance. He needs time to study that decision.

He was unaware of that decision because, initially, Atiyeh was represented by Allentown Attorney Bill Malkames in this matter. As a result of an unfortunate and unexpected illness, Malkames is unable to continue at this time. Bethlehem Attorney Jim Preston, who represents Atiyeh on some other matters, has taken over the reins.

Several audience members demanded that the continuance be denied. David Donio, for example, suggested that the continuance should be denied so that Atiyeh is forced to pay another application fee. "We're not here to play games," answered Solicitor Erich Schock. "This is an appropriate motion for relief."

Despite the lack of Divine guidance, zoners unanimously granted the continuance request until December 20, at 6 PM, at Bethlehem Town Hall.

Audience members continued arguing the matter until the meeting was adjourned.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who the Hell is "Schock"?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let me edit my post to answer that question. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The lawyer didn't think a little "Jesustime" was okay?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hey, he's a lawyer. Prayers aren't going to help him.

Anonymous said...

This delay won't change the inevitable. The law is the law!

Anonymous said...

"After being condemned to eternal damnation, Attorney Preston"

as one of abe's lawyers, hell probably holds no fear for him

michael molovinsky said...

although allentown city council always precedes their meetings with a prayer seeking wisdom in their deliberations, .......

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Maybe tomorrow host an Open Forum strictly to post Thanksgiving comments. Nothing vile. You can censor the comments if you don't like something.

Anonymous said...

When you're done with your buddie Atiyeh, maybe you can post what's wrong with Route 33? How many deaths
occur near Saylorsburg? Why?

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Maybe that lady wanted to pray Atiyeh
wouldn't show up? Perhaps she knows something we don't as according to you, he didn't.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem Township Resident asking a Bethlehem Board to pray before a meeting? What ever happend to the constitution of the United States, that little area that explains Seperation of Church and State? when did we start ignoring that? I for one am glad to hear that the zoning board did not fall into the trap of praying to a christian god, last I looked there where to many to list here...

Whethervain said...

>What ever happend to the constitution of the United States, that little area that explains Seperation of Church and State?

"In 1774, the Continental Congress chose Episcopal Rector Jacob Duché to open its legislative sessions with prayer.
-snip-
In recent Supreme Court decisions, the constitutionality of the Chaplain’s role has been upheld based on precedent and tradition."

If our Congress can do it, don't see why we can't (and shouldn't).

[separation...update your spellchecker]

Anonymous said...

Who is this nutcase that believes everybody believes in the same mythology as her?

Anonymous said...

although allentown city council always precedes their meetings with a prayer seeking wisdom in their deliberations, .......

And you can see how that fantasy is working out for them. Get a brain, people.

Anonymous said...

Twenty people have to do what one wants instead of the one doing what the many want. Also note that separation of church and state does not appear anywhere in our constitution.

Anonymous said...

God is too busy helping professional athletes maximize their performance.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think a quasi judicial body like a ZHB should open its meetings with a prayer

Jesus H. said...

God doesn't listen to lawyers' prayers. It would have been an exercise in futility and may have achieved the opposite of the presumed, intended effect by pissing God off. Dad bless you,

JHC+

Anonymous said...

I can understand your opinion bo but the question is why does the majority have to do what the minority wants to do. In this case it seems it is better to offend twenty people instead of offending one. In my opinion the few should just not participate in the act, whatever it may be.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's a ZHB. It is not there to bend to the will of the people who come there. It is there to follow the law. You can make that argument to City Council, which incidentally does pray before every meeting, but a ZHB has a completely different function.

If this was the way things go, then whichever tram has the most players in the room on the night in question, wins the case. That's not the way it works.

Anonymous said...

Yes Bo you are correct, on any given day the pendulum can swing from one side to the other, wouldn't you agree that's what democracy is all about?

Bernie O'Hare said...

We are not a democracy. We are a nation of laws and are governed by the Constitution. A ZHB does not exist to do the people's will, but to balance a property owner's rights against the public welfare. They follow a zoning ordinance, not the whims of a capricious public.

Anonymous said...

You confuse me bo, we're not a domocracy? Are we talking about America? Congress and the Senate vote on issues and pass laws and bills based on majority rule, is that not so.

Anonymous said...

One person wanted to pray. How is that a majority bending to the minority?

Next time you go to the post office or to the county building to do business, perhaps the clerk will want to conduct a prayer first?

Lighthouse said...

To answer 11:29...

Federalist #10 (contemporary language ed.), James Madison:

"In a pure democratic government, a common passion or interest will, almost always, be felt by a majority of the whole. There is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or obnoxious individual.

Therefore, such democracies are always spectacles of turbulence and contention. They are incompatible with personal security or property rights. Their lives are as short as their deaths violent. Political theorists who support this type of government erroneously suppose that after people are reduced to perfect political equality, their possessions, their opinions, and their passions will also be equal.

A republic, by which I mean a government with a representative plan, suggests a different expectation and promises the cure we are seeking."

In conclusion, if you re-read the Constitution, you will not find the word democracy once. It does, however, build a republic and specifically states in Art V, sec 4, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lighthouse said it better than I. We are NOT a democracy, but a democratic republic. Majority rules in elections, but not at town halls or in courtrooms. Under the law as envisaged by the anon, Southern courtrooms not so long ago would let off every white person accused of murdering a black, and everty black person would be conviv\cted, no matter how thin the evidence.

What you are really advocating is mobocracy.

Whethervain said...

I've had my morning coffee now and would like to edit my previous comment:

"If our Congress can do it, don't see why we can't (and shouldn't)."

-to-

If our Congress can do it, don't see why we can't.

I agree that introducing this activity at a ZHB though might be a little overbearing.

Whethervain said...

ooh, and Bernie, Happy Thanksgiving...you turkey :-)

Ken Kraft said...

This will be continues on December 20th at 6pm

Anonymous said...

I thought ken Kraft is not allowed to be involved in Atiyeh's plan because he skipped one meeting before the election.

Anonymous said...

The apartment plan has nothing to do with the residential treatment center plan Anon. So Mr. Kraft can attend.

Anonymous said...

When you're done with your buddie Atiyeh, maybe you can post what's wrong with Route 33? How many deaths
occur near Saylorsburg? Why?

I don't know what Abe has to do with this however, I would say that if PennDOT installed
52" Glarescreen barrier up and down 33 that mans family would be having a happy Thanksgiving instead of making funeral plans.
Don't let the PennDOT mouthpiece doofus Ron Young blow smoke up your asses about the road is too narrow. CONCRETE BARRIER are far superior to these guardrails and post and cable restraints.
Hop on 33 south and exit at 22 west ....kaboom they paved this summer right up to the bad joint and called it a day. The joint has been bad for 4 years. It improved slightly last year when the plow trucks scraped some of the bumps down.
I predict that that joint will cause a motorist traveling at highway speeds to end up airborne.
FIX IT

And I don't want to hear about the PennDOT union goons, they aren't doing the 33 rehab.

NLVlogic said...

Is that the same Erich Schock who appeared as the attorney for Walmart in Schnecksville? This is not to say anything about the failure to pray, (comment omitted) but rather the oft suggestion then that the Wal-mart opposition sought to delay the matter by their few requested continuances. Just goes to show you, lawyers, of which I am one, can be two headed snakes!

Bernie O'Hare said...

It is the same Erich Schock.

Anonymous said...

We do not have a democracy. We have a representative republic. And, there is no seperation of church and state in the constitution. The constitution protects us from the government sponsored or required religion.

Anonymous said...

The constitution protects us from the government sponsored or required religion.

And please tell me Anon 9:27:

What is it called again when a government body starts a meeting with a christian prayer??? I can't figure this out, can you?

Anonymous said...

This is all drama designed to distract from the main point. A developer is requesting a "special action" to be able to not abide by the zoning code. It is the responsibility of the zb and city to enforce the codes on behalf of the citizens.

The law is the law.