|Alex Karam is not just Joseph Kray's lawyer, but a customer, too.|
The reason for this short hearing? Two words. Joe Piperato. A lawyer, he represents the Elias family. He pointed out that the enforcement notice issued to Elias wasn't worth the paper it was written on, except he didn't use those words. He said it was void ab initio because it never informed Elias of its appeal rights, something required by both state law and the Zoning Ordinance. Solicitor Terry Faul told the Board that Piperato was correct, and just like that, the enforcement notice was dismissed, 5 to zip.
As Elias foes and supporters filed out of town hall, Bernotas sat there, in stunned silence. He was still there as three other cases were heard. He may still be there.
Whether this is finally the end remains to be seen. But Elias Partner George Azar was relieved. "The less I'm here, the better," he whispered on his way out.
With the main event out of the way, zoners tackled the undercard.
As her two daughters looked on with angelic smiles in the audience, Virginia Fowler received the Board's unanimous blessings for a dimensional variance that would allow a greenhouse at her property at 53 E. Market Street,. Attorney Mike Deschler argued that the 2% variance was so slight as to be immaterial. But he didn't use those words. He instead called it a classic de minimis variance.
Attorney Alex Karam, representing computer guru Joseph Kray, persuaded zoners to grant a special exception that would permit him to operate a computer sales and service shop in what had been a law office at 1022 Main Street. "I know he'll be an asset to the city of Bethlehem, Karam assured the board,adding that he is not just his lawyer, but a customer, too.
"Are you employed by him?" joked Zoning Hearing Board Chair Gus Loupos.
Lucy Lennon, acting as the realtor for Darey Hamm, also sought a special exception that would substiute a dog -grooming business for what had been a doctor's office at 1809 Columbine Avenue, right across the street from Notre Dame Church and Elementary School. She called it a "low impact" business that would be operated by a mother-daughter team, a "good fit for that neighborhood. Michael Santanasto and Linda Shay Gardner, both of whom are attorneys, agreed that lennon makes a good case, but suggested she seek a use variance instead of a special exception. So her appeal was continued so she can re-post the property.