|Signs like these decorate Atiyeh's Dewberry & Center tract|
Dorner reported that the site failed perc tests, but Atiyeh engineer David Harte insisted that permits were issued several years ago, when an assisted living facility was approved at the site. Attorney Blake Marles, representing Atiyeh, told planners those permits are site specific, regardless what is planned.
In addition to stormwater infiltration, planners were bothered by a lack of detail, including the type of hospital planned. Resident Stew Early complained that the hospital could be a methadone clinic or a facility housing felons. Harte responded that the site would meet the requirements to obtain a license for a "general hoispital," which could include a wide range of services.
Marles, who has represented St. Luke's Hospital for its expansion into Bethlehem Township, told planners that hospital uses evolve constantly, as happened at the St. Luke's expansion during its construction. He noted it makes little sense to provide detailed architectural drawings until a plan is actually approved.
But as planners remained skeptical, Harte offered to seek an extension so that some of these missing pieces can be supplied, and consideration of the plan was extended until September.
In addition to putting the brakes on Atiyeh, planners also tabled a new Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, to be located at 321 E. Third Street. A 3-story, 85,428 sq ft building for 600 students and 54 staffers is proposed at a 0.7175 acre site.
Although school engineer Bryan Ritter indicated that he would perform and implement the recommendations of a traffic study, Planner Andrew Twiggar insisted that the study be performed before the plan is approved. He did so even though Bethlehem Traffic coordinator Tiffany Geklinsky was unconcerned whether the study is done before or after approval. He did so even though Executive Director Diane LaBelle told planners that even a 30-day delay could affect financing for the $27 million project.
LaBelle acknowledged that 23 buses would drop children off daily.
Planners will look at the Charter School again oat their July 11 meeting.