Friday, August 17, 2012

Bethlehem Residents Suffer Atiyeh-Fatigue

Atiyeh with Att'y Mark Malkames last month
The southeast corner of Center Street and Dewberry Avenue, once part of a sleepy cemetery, is now the most hotly litigated piece of property in Bethlehem. Frustrated residents, normally very cordial, lashed out against owner Abe Atiyeh during an August 16 meeting of the Planning Commission. But neither he nor anyone from his sundry business concerns was present, despite having submitted plans for review.

Atiyeh, who has zoning approval for an assisted living facility at the 5-acre site, has abandoned that project as a result of market conditions. He'd rather build luxury apartments. But zoners shot that proposal down. So did a Northampton County judge. So did the Commonwealth Court. Rebuffed on that idea, he presented plans for a psychiatric hospital. Those were rejected, too, and that matter is now under review in court.

But while a judge ponders a medical facility for the mentally ill, Atiyeh has again submitted plans for four, 3-story apartment buildings at this controversial site. Across the street, he's proposed a voluntary, inpatient, rehab for addictions at the old Calvary Baptist Church. He's also proposed converting a residence at the northeast corner of Center and Dewberry into his own command center for himself and is staff. He's been rebuffed on those ideas as well.

Along the way, a small army of concerned Bethlehem residents has galvanized to fight the colorful developer along every step of the way. August 16 was no exception. A platoon of about 20 troops descended into Town Hall to protest Atiyeh's latest plans. It made no difference that the colorful developer was himself absent. A grassroots group calling itself the North Bethlehem Action Committee, made up of prominent citizens like retired Judge Bill Moran and retired educator Greg Zebrowskis, has retained Easton attorney Steve Goudsouzian to advise them and oppose Atiyeh.

After Goudsouzian voiced his objections to Atiyeh's latest plans, Bethlehem citizens like John Schadt and Sue Glemser challenged Atiyeh's integrity.

Glemser described Atiyeh as a "rich developer who does poor due diligence," and told planners that his plans have damaged "the peace and tranquility" of Bethlehem.

Claiming that Atiyeh's vision is "perverse and regressive," Schadt argued that Bethlehem "already has enough slumlords as it stands now." He labeled Atiyeh "an extremely callous, uncaring developer" who "has made a mockery of Bethlehem."

"He needs to be told to go away," said Schadt, after reading from a prepared statement that he has declined to provide to the media.

Planners did reject Atiyeh's plans, although not for the reasons stated by Schadt. They were instead concerned about an apartment complex that failed to include basic items like a fire hydrant. "It's a matter of public safety," explained Planner Andrew Twigger.

Contacted after yesterday's hearing, Atiyeh stated he expected his plans to be rejected because the apartment use has already been rejected by zoners.

In other business, planners did approve a 16-home townhouse subdivision at the northeast corner of East Boulevard and Chester Road. Called "The Meadows," 4 sets of townhouses, with four in each set, have been proposed on a 16-acre lot located next to an apartment complex.


Anonymous said...

I read about recent new lawyers not finding jobs. Atiyeh might be just doing a stimulas program for the legal profession.

He could save money just getting a law degree?

He abuses the legal system, but he has a right to due process.

Anonymous said...

"made up of prominent citizens like retired Judge Bill Moran and retired educator Greg Zebrowskis,"

A private business man being hounded, at every turn, by public pensioners who've always had way too much time on their hands.

Atiyeh has some boneheaded ideas sometimes, but I'm rooting for him simply because of the arrogance of people like judge Moranito and she who is so entitled to "peace and tranquility". That they've set out to oppose Abe on the grounds that he is Abe, rather than the merits of legitimate development of HIS PROPERTY shows you who the real "perverse and regressive" folks are.


Anonymous said...

Why not head back home to Syria, they sure need some rebuilding after what they have done to themselves...

No Permits or ZHB's required!

Anonymous said...

The Rajah of Rezoning.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ahh, no we see why Bill White's description was such a poor choice. Looks like we've got a bit of ethnic bias under the surface here. And of course, the assholes who do this don't identify themselves.

Anonymous said...

No bias, he's Syrian, just a fact.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Most bigots fail to recognize their own bias.

Anonymous said...

We personally can't wait for Abe's zoning meetings. We've heard they are a lot of fun. Abe's idea for (insert project here)will be great for (insert municipality here). Dickie had a great time. We're looking forward to sending that guy from the Gremlins movies up to the next one.


Association of Obscure Quasi Celebrities and Compensated Endorsers

George Hamilton, President, Wilford Brimley, Vice President

Anonymous said...

Rajah isn't a Syrian reference. Bill White's not a racist. He's just a poor writer and regular old asshole. The previous poster, by feeling compelled to mention Abe's background at all, is a bigot.

Anonymous said...

That is why you and Angle claim you are not bigots, O'Hare.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm aware that Rajah is not a Syrian reference, which is the excuse White has given for his insult. The fact is that to Western minds, the words "Rajah" or "Shiek" or "Kahn" all have an occidental flavor. It is thinly veiled bigotry.

And the suggestion that Atiyeh should go back home to Syria is clearly bigoted.

Had Atiyeh been black and you said he should go back to Africa, no one would even question this. So let's knock it off already and quit playing games.

Incidentally, Atiyeh was born and raised here This is his home. So spread your hate somewhere else, please. You will be deleted if you continue this nonsense.

What I find interesting is that John Schadt never would give me his statement.

Uncle Remus said...

BO - don't worry yourself about these supposed bigots. These boys (and I do mean little "b"), wouldn't make a good bump on a real bigot's ass.

You know that I can racially insult more people in three sentences then these penny ante minded amateurs could do in a week of blogging.

Hell, they don't even know where to get the sheets, hoods and crosses. The only sheets they know about have paisley flowers on them.

But, in all due respect to you and your desires that I behave myself I will no demonstrate my perfected abilities of hatred and bigotry.

Let it suffice to say that these pretenders do not and never will comprehend the concept of...............................................................................................................................................................................................................

"IF YOU AIN"T WHITE - YOU AIN"T RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Minor leaguer. The prez won't send his kids to school with darkies. Pawlowski ethnically cleansed spics and gooks. And even gay rights supporters think gays are nuts for worshipping the shithole. Good night, Remus. Lock up from the boogies. Seen 'em in the woodpile.

Warm regards,
Robert Byrd's Fiddle Instructor

ReleasethereturnsMitt said...

If the developer's name was Russian in origin would a reference to the Czar of rezoning be a problem? Since Rajah is Indan it seems like more alliteration than anything nefarious

Bernie O'Hare said...

I would say so, too, if I were a bigot.

Anonymous said...

but u r a bigot

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am sure I am in some ways. But I sign mt name to what I write while you are a pathetic cowardly troll with nothing better to do on a Saturday night than engage in hate. How sad.