|"May God Have Mercy on Your Soul!"|
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.