Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dr. Sussman: If He Builds It, They Will Come

Dr. Tho V. Tran, a prominent Linden Street dentist, and Dr. Elliott Sussman, who runs Lehigh Valley Hospital, both caught a break from Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board on November 17. It was a good night for the medical community.

Nurse practitioner Allen C. Smith III would like to purchase Dr. Tran's 1565 Linden Street home, which has a dental office on the first floor. But Smith wants to replace dental chairs and drills with examination tables, and needed a variance so he can conduct a medical practice at that location.

Dr. Tran has been trying to sell his property since 2004, and told zoners he's been unable to attract buyers because of the cost involved in converting a dental office to a home. "I'm 79 1/2 years old," he said. "Please do this so I can retire."

Dr. Sussman has no desire to sell his 452 N. New Street home, but needed permission to build a guest home on top of his garage. "It's principally a guest house for my children," he told zoners. He's hoping that if he builds it, they will come. He also admitted he'd sneak in there himself from time to time so he could enjoy a good book, and might even install a TV so he can "watch the Eagles win a few more football games."

Zoners quickly granted the relief requested by both Doctors. Chairman Gus Loupos told Dr. Tran, "Enjoy your retirement!"

Though neither a physician nor a dentist, zoners gave Jerry Fasnacht permission to expand the second floor at 421 E 5th Street to allow for a bathroom and two additional bedrooms. Cheryl Mittle, who came on behalf of her next door mother, was concerned about runoff from the roof and possible damage to her mother's home caused by the construction. But in response to questioning by Attorney Kevin Kelleher, Mittle withdrew her objections after learning that the roof is not being expanded and the construction work will be insured.
Updated 9:15 AM: One of my astute readers has just informed me that Dr. Sussman has stepped down from the helm of LVH. The news release making that announcement is here.

14 comments:

Mitch Cumstein said...

At some point, hopefully in the near future, the masses will wake up and start asking, "Why do I have to petition an unelected board for permission to make changes to property I own that in no way threaten or impact the health, safety, or welfare of my neighbors?" By what authority do such unelected zoning boards govern every aspect of property which we've brought and paid for?

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Something happened in that boardroom we'll never know about. That's the way this stuff goes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Mitch Cumstein said...

At some point, hopefully in the near future, the masses will wake up and start asking, "Why do I have to petition an unelected board for permission to make changes to property I own that in no way threaten or impact the health, safety, or welfare of my neighbors?" By what authority do such unelected zoning boards govern every aspect of property which we've brought and paid for?

12:40 AM

Mitch,
Taxpayers almost everywhere have allowed their property rights to disappear. For example, Upper Saucon Township residents last year silently accepted a 400-page revised zoning ordinance that one suspects includes the way folks now must fold their t.p.

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Tho V. Tran, a prominent Linden Street dentist, and Dr. Elliott Sussman, who runs Lehigh Valley Hospital, both caught a break from Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board on November 17. It was a good night for the medical community."

Bernie-
Did you write this last night?
Perhaps you didn't know
Sussman was ousted two days ago.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Sussman was let go because of his political involvement in this zoning appearance. Is this appropriate conduct for a chief executive officer? No.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sussman has no desire to sell his 452 N. New Street home, but needed permission to build a guest home on top of his garage. "It's principally a guest house for my children," he told zoners. He's hoping that if he builds it, they will come. He also admitted he'd sneak in there himself from time to time so he could enjoy a good book, and might even install a TV so he can "watch the Eagles win a few more football games."

Here's one problem with this approval. Did zoners forbid any income property conversion once Sussman sells this house? Doubt it.
Neighbors should have realized that when Sussman eventually sells, new owners can use apt as additional income. On a street where parking is at a premium, is this a good idea?

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Is it possible to add a date to the top of each post? It would be very helpful to readers.

Anonymous said...

FYI: Dr. Sussman's approval was conditioned upon the guesthouse never be made available for residential or commercial lease.

The request was not if he could use the space (he could) for a guest house. It was that he be allowed to extend the nonconforming structure's roofline so that he could have a standard ceiling in the guesthouse.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, there is a date, followed by the time for each post.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:41, Everything you write is accurate. But he wanted to do all those things so he could transform the space above his garage into a guest house. He wants his children to come and visit him. To me, that's the story, not the technical stuff.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Neighbors should have realized that when Sussman eventually sells, new owners can use apt as additional income."

As the anon pointed out, Dr. Sussman is subject to a condition. Theguest home is exactly that. It may not be leased commercially or for residents.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Perhaps you didn't know
Sussman was ousted two days ago."
I did not, and thank you for telling me.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bernie O'Hare said...

"Neighbors should have realized that when Sussman eventually sells, new owners can use apt as additional income."

As the anon pointed out, Dr. Sussman is subject to a condition. Theguest home is exactly that. It may not be leased commercially or for residents.

9:07 AM

Thank you Bernie for adding this.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
While you haven't as yet addressed yesterday's Allentown 2 p.m.
Linden Street shootings, perhaps today you will.