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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bethlehem's New, 5-member ZHB, Goes To Work

From left to right: Michael Santanasto, Gus Loupos(seated), Linda Shay Gardner, Bill Fitzpatrick(seated) and  James Schantz
Within days of their appointment, three new Zoning Hearing Board members - Linda Shay Gardner, Michael Santanasto and James Schantz - joined Chairman Gus Loupos and Bill Fitzpatrick for their first night of hearings on January 25. Their very first lesson? Hurry up and wait.

Before this new, five member Board could convene, Loupos and Fitzpatrick were still busy wrapping up the 6th and final night of testimony in Abe Atiyeh's controversial request for a residential treatment center next to Bethlehem Catholic High School. Instead of getting started at 7 PM, as scheduled on the agenda, the new zoners had to wait until 9 PM.

Their first zoning applicant?

None other than Abe Atiyeh.

Owner of Synthetic Thread Apartments at 825 12th Avenue, Atiyeh was denied a sign permit for a 189 sq ft combined static and LED sign, which would replace what's already painted on the building. Atyeh's lead engineer, David Harte, told zoners the sign would advertise the 67 loft apartments, which he explained are hard to find. Because these are "live work" apartments for people who work from their home, Harte suggested the LED sign would also let people know what services are offered by tenants. He added that the LED light, located in an industrial district, would have no impact on any residences.

Attorney James Preston, representing Atiyeh, told zoner James Schantz that the building and its original sign were there before nearby Route 378, and probably pre-dates Bethlehem's zoning ordinance. Although zoners unanimously granted a variance for the sign, they imposed conditions that would prevent Atiyeh from using it as a billboard to advertise products or services unrelated to the apartment building.


Anonymous said...

This Rajah of Rezoning has screwed up Allentown, right? Now Callahan has stacked the deck to ensure Bethlehem follows Allentown's lead.

Who are the drinks on at the Apollo, or is it the Edge on Thursday night?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Call me Ishmael, this treatment center needs to be harpooned. I won't sit back and watch the citizens of this neighborhood get Moby "Dicked" by a person who continues to move the goalpost when he doesn't get his way. All over the valley and of late in Easton this "developer" uses the scorched earth option. He has been granted approval to use his land. Use it accordingly. Maybe we can hire Hulk Hogan to attend the next meeting for us, he can rip his shirt off in solidarity.

Anonymous said...

I heard he is having Ronald Reagan's corpse make an appearance. Of course that is just a rumor.

Anonymous said...

Big Gus has a vague resemblance to John Karoly.