Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bethlehem Zoners Nix Apartment Building on W. North Street

Dennis Connell
He sat there stunned. But in a split decision last night, Bethlehem zoners denied George Andreadis' request to convert a single family residence at 14 West North Street into two apartments. Zoners Ken Kraft and Bill Fitzpatrick voted to deny a special exception in what is a commercial business district. Chairman Gus Loupos dissented.

Andreadis' problems started at the beginning of the hearing, when he claimed the property had been posted for seven days as required by law. "I didn't see a notice until today," observed Kraft, who explained he drives that way every day. Andreadis told Kraft the notice had fallen, so he taped it to a window..

Then Bill Fitzpatrick, who is philosophically opposed to converting homes into apartments, wanted to know why Andreadis couldn't rent the property as a single family unit. "I could," answered Andreadis, but added he had "paid too much" for the property.

Iris Linares, a neighbor, complained about the parking issues that would be caused by another apartment building in the block, explaining she already has to pay $55 per month to the Parking Authority to park in the garage because there is no room on the block. She added that she thought Bethlehem was trying to discourage more conversions. "That's what happened in Allentown, converting all those properties that should have been single units," she noted.

Businessman Dennis Connell, who owns apartment buildings on nearby New Street, complained that tenants would park in his own 10-space parking lot, which is reserved for his own tenants. Andreadis suggested that Connell could chain the lot to prevent unwanted guests, but Connell was unmoved. "You're asking me to solve a problem that you have," he answered.

While Andreadis sat in disbelief, zoners next considered Spenser Smith's application for a possible medical office at 808 Eaton Avenue in a commercial mixed use district.

Bethlehem architect John Lee explained the property is in a commercial mixed use district and is part of a triangular lot bounded by Eaton Avenue, Eighth Avenue and Schoenserville Road. He told zoners that Smith has tried to find a tenant for the past 1 1/2 years, but "hasn't even had a nibble." In response to questions from Attorney Kevin Kelleher, Lee testified that a hardship has been created by enactment of a commercial mixed use district, and that medical offices would be more in character with the existing neighborhood.

12 comments:

THE observer said...

bernie
just to set the record straight I do not object to changing hoes into apartments!!! now homes is another issue all together

Bernie O'Hare said...

Observer, I've corrected my typo. Geez, I'm an idiot.

Anonymous said...

I believe that this family's record on West North Street (even side) is well-documented since the late 1970's. First, the father, now this fellow. They are opportunists who do not care that they are turning this street into a small version of Allentown. As Mrs. Linares correctly points out, that is what is wrong in Allentown, and who wants that in Bethlehem? He "paid too much for it"??? Boo fu**ng, hoo.

VOR

Anonymous said...

You have to prove a hardship that was not created by the applicant. Paying too much for a property doesn't rise to a hardship.

Anonymous said...

Paid too much? He bought it for $75,000 a couple months ago....he knew what he was doing.

Anonymous said...

yes you are bernie

Anonymous said...

Hey we give breaks to Abe Atiyeh, why not this guy. Didn't he contribute enough to the politicians?

Anonymous said...

Tell me when Abe Atieah was told yes to ANYTHING that he brought to Bethlehem Zoning in the last 4 years please.

Al Bernotas said...

The Zoning Hearing Board did the right thing on this ruling.

But, it also has to stop allowing conversions on the south side, which is becoming a junior Allentown with all the conversions, increased density, and commensurate increase in piled up trash, and crime.

Anonymous said...

They also have to stop Atiyeh form building slum apartments on the North Side as well as his drug addiction place.

People before money. Hopefully the zb follows the law on Abe as well and says NO!

Dennis Connell said...

Mr. O'Hare: I'd like to note that I am not objecting to converting single family homes into apartment units in the center city area. The issue is that landlords, for many reasons, are reducing the services that they are providing (trash removal and parking are just two examples)and placing the responsibility on thier tenants. My point is that landlords need to provide more than just a place to live. They should be doing what's needed to make the conversion have a positive effect on the neighborhood where they are proposing it. In this hearing, the applicant could have agreed to conditions to provide trash removal and parking (there is an under utilized public parking garage less than 500 feet from this property). If that had been the case, I would have supported his application.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Connell, Thank you for your comment. I understand your position, and noted in my piece that our objection focused on parking. I did not mention the trash, but you discussed that as well.