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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, October 23, 2015

From Rosemont School To Assisted Living Facility?

Nimita Kapoor Atiyeh Under Cross-examination
At their October 21 meeting, Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board began hearing testimony on plans to convert the vacant Rosemont Elementary School, located at 815 Pennsylvania Avenue, into an assisted living center. Because the school is located in the middle of a residential community, a use variance is needed Close to 50 neighbors calling themselves the Rosemont Neighborhood Coalition packed into Town Hall to oppose Abe Atiyeh's latest plan. But Atiyeh, who was absent himself, unleashed his secret weapon at the hearing. That weapon is his attractive wife, Nimita Kapoor-Atiyeh.

As brash and divisive as Abe can sometimes be, his wife is the exact opposite. She testified under the guidance of prominent Bethlehem Attorney Jim Preston. Attorney Lawrence Fox, who is the Solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board in Bethlehem Township, represents Objectors Wayne and Karen Achey. Fox actually complimented her work at two assisted living facilities she currently operates.

Current plans call for an adaptive re-use of the vacant school as a 75-bed facility, very much like the adaptive reuse of the old Hellertown High School into Saucon Valley Manor.

In opening remarks, Attorney Fox insisted that Atiyeh is really asking the Board to "re-write" the zoning ordinance, but is in "the wrong church and wrong pew." Preston briefly countered that he would prove the elements needed for a use variance. That requires proof that unique physical characteristics of the property prevent its use in the manner required under the zoning ordinance. The owner must prove a hardship and that the variance will still be harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood.

Kapoor-Atiyeh has considerable experience as an administrator at two assisted living facilities known as Whitehall Manor (215 beds) and Saucon Valley Manor (250 beds). She testified that demand his high and she has a waiting list at both facilities. Both facilities are licensed by the state.

At assisted living facilities, residents can come and go as they please, except for secured dementia residents. But she told zoners that very few of them travel on their own. Only three residents at each of her facilities have their own cars.

Asked about visitors, she responded there are "not enough." On weekdays, she told zoners that there are only one or two visitors per day at each of her facilities.

When questioned about dementia residents escaping, she told zoners that only has happened once in her 17 years as an Administrator. In August, a dementia resident got out in Hellertown and she told zoners that she ran down the street after him. He went to his nearby home, and she sat with him for four hours until he agreed to go back.

Atiyeh was also questioned about the noise from ambulances visiting the facility. She indicated that there are about five visits per week at each of her facilities, but the ambulances use no lights or sirens. "It's upsetting to the neighborhood and upsetting to the residents."

Garbage is removed twice per week from closed dumpsters. There is also a secured area for medical waste inside where medical waste is double bagged and sealed for inside pick up.

When questioned about possible hazards to children who wander onto the property, Atiyeh explained that her assisted living facilities would pose no danger because they have to be made secure against hazards for the older residents, who are on average 88 years old. She mentioned that a child did once visit her facility in Whitehall when his parents forgot to pick him up after school. "He sat in the lobby and ate ice cream until his grandparents came," she laughed.

Testimony in this case will continue at a later date. Karen Achey, a leader of Rosemont Neighborhood Coalition, said her group would have no objection to a church or Christian School at the site. But a proliferation of churches in that area is something that appeals to Atiyeh. "It's a wonderful location near churches where people can take their loved ones," she said.


Lighthouse said...

I have been objective with Mr. Atiyeh over the years, both a critic ( http://lehighvalleyramblings.blogspot.com/2011/11/atiyeh-she-condemns-traffic-he-proposes.html ; http://patch.com/pennsylvania/bethlehem/developer-s-gas-station-pitch-was-ill-timed ) and a defender ( http://articles.mcall.com/2009-11-17/news/4477407_1_center-for-northampton-county-bethlehem-township-deputy-warden , which happened to be how Commonwwealth Court saw it as well ) by simply ignoring him as a person, and his personality, and instead simply following the law as written. COB ZHB will have to do the same. I personally don't see how a nursing home would be any more burdensome on the neighborhood than an active elementary school (at one time) would be. I also admit that I have not read the specific Zoning ordinance in question. Can the parcel be developed as zoned? If so, is there really a hardship? Is this a legitimate case where the governing City Council should reconsider its zoning there? That's for them also to decide.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe Bethlehem is a little more lax on use variances than BT, which almost never grants a use variance. I leave that decision to the zoners. My sole point here is that Ms. Atiyeh is an excellent witness who very clearly understands the subject.

Maggie Mae Mason said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Al Bernotas said...

Surely you jest about the City of Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board. Lax? They never saw an appeal for a use variance that they did not love. The COB ZHB represents the culture of the City. When it comes to modifying the zoning code with ZHB decisions, they are the best. And as far as dimensional variances, appellants should not even be required to appear, just deliver the fee to City Hall and be done with it. I have no respect for the COB ZHB. They do not uphold the zoning ordinance. And this will not change until their Chairman resigns, along with his screaming co-chair. There is little hope for this political body to be egalitarian with its current constituency.

Anonymous said...

As much as I dislike Atiyeh's antics, these "neighbors" repulse me. Complaining about "visitors" or demential patients "escaping" or ambulance noise? Shut the fuck up you entitled fucks. It was once a school. It was once a school for delinquents. Now it will be an old folks home and you are complaining? What the hell use would satisfy you? Don't buy a house near a building like that if you can't deal with it being used.

Anonymous said...

Then screw the jerks that are against this. Open a low income housing project in the building or a facility for troubled youth or halfway house. You will see the dirt bag neighbors change their tunes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:57, The neighbors have yet to chime in. The questions about ambulance noise and escaping dementia patients came from the board, not the audience. They had very few questions, and were polite.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Al Bernotas is very bitter his lengthy battle over the Elias Expansion, which did not do what he wanted them to do. He lost there, in the court of common plea, in commonwealth court and at the supreme court. He started following Elias trucks and ended up getting charged with criminal harassment. he started going to ZHB meeting and hammering people and small businesses who are terrified enough already about having to appear before government officials. He screamed that the ZHB wasn't big enough and was beind the move to have it expanded from three to five members. Then he was screaming about Gus Loupos, the Chair, who has a very difficult job and tries to be fair to everyone. Now it is apparently the Vice Chair, too.

The reality is that Al is a bully who lashes out when he doesn't get his way. Time to move on, Al. It's over. Accept it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Maggie Mae mason, Your comment is OT and deleted. Follow the rules.

Al Bernotas said...

Sorry Bernie, I ain't goin' nowhere. The COB ZHB needs to support the Zoning Ordinance, and enforce violations. Elias Farmers Market is a slum style green grocer, in my neighborhood. They ignore the law, the zoning ordinance, and the conditions imposed by the pseudo Zoning Hearing Board. They are law breakers. And the COB is very, very soft on enforcement. And obviously, you do not mind law breakers - you are one. I am not a felon. Slime loves slime. Elias runs a wholesale distribution operation out of their green grocery store. Do you think the "keep your head in the sand" zoning department in Bethlehem is going to confront them. Hell no. Harrassment. That comes from the Godfather, Joe Elias. He does not even own the Elias Farmers Market, but he sticks his nose in their business. Their driver is Moataz Yassin, evidently a non-english speaking puppet of Joe Elias. He is bringing an interpreter to the hearing, so he can commit perjury in Arabic. Joe Elias is going to testify, so he can commit perjury in English. And Joe Pepperoni is going to be there to defend his non-English speaking accuser. Moataz is clueless. When he commits perjury, he is going to screw up his chances of becoming a citizen of this country. He is guilty of Malicious Prosecution, as is Joe Elias. I will be taking no prisoners with this issue. Taking a photograph in a public place is a constitutional right. But what would you know about that. No sense disparaging you, cause you cannot get any lower. You better watch you are not the next person to get a defamation law suit. Maybe I will get your bicycle!

Anonymous said...

The term delinquents has a variable in it as does history¿!($ This comment is compairible to the gas chambers of germany and the local circus law gang¿!($

There are allways three sides to a story the plantiff and the defendant, than there are the well dressed proffessionals that twist the tail¿!($ This is only to sway the reel of any matter at hand¿!($
After all that there are those in the black dresses that pay to play in the Brown Hole circus of things

patent pending

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, Al, I must thank you for proving very clearly that you are both bitter and a bully. I am a bit unclear on your claim that I am a law breaker and your implication that I am a felon. Other than parking tickets, I have no criminal record, but you are falsely suggesting that I am a felon. This is how you get in trouble. As for your comment directed at the driver and Elias, you should know that attempts to intimidate a witness against you is a crime. Not a felony, but a crime. You just did that on this blog. Not very wise on your part.

Anonymous said...

If they simply delay and wait until Atiyeh goes to federal pound-in-the-ass prison, won't the issue go away organ-ically?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Mr. Bernotas, who cannot even see the Elias Market from his house, the house he bought long after the market was an established business, is the real nuisance in the neighborhood.

Last Sunday, my husband and I stopped at Elias on our way home from church. The parking lot was, as usual, full of customers. My husband carefully found his way to a space, and parked. Before I could get my seat belt open, a skinny blond woman, late middle age, dressed in a suit, appeared at the driver's window, and pronounced "You just hit my car."

Now, we had not hit any car, we had not heard any sound that would indicate we had hit any car, we had not felt any kind of impact or bump that would indicate we had hit any car, and we knew that in fact, we had not hit any car on our way to the parking space we were in. She babbled about having heard a loud noise, then about how maybe it was a car door closing, then said she was probably mistaken, and she went away.

I went into the market, bought my items, and returned to the car. My husband informed me that while I was gone, the woman's husband, looking embarrassed, had come over and taken photos of our car. There was no indication that our car had hit a black car, there was no indication that their black car had been hit. It was pure harassment on their part, and we went home wondering what sort of scam it was part of.

As I put my purchases away, it occurred to me that perhaps these people were not even customers, but rather, from the zoning crazies who wanted to intimidate Elias customers. So, I called the Elias Market, spoke to the woman in the office, described what had happened, and suggested they might want to be aware of these people in the parking lot. She told me there are cameras on the parking lot, and that she could determine whether we had hit the black car, and also could monitor it, if it were still there. I gave her my name and phone number, and asked her to call me back if she could see any evidence my husband had hit the black car. She never called me back. Had anybody actually hit that black car, of course, they would have called the police.

There are people who have nothing better to do than harass truck drivers by following them around, and one wonders how they and their crowd spend their time on days when the trucks are not out on the road....?

Al Bernotas said...

Bernie, thanks for the free legal advice. I think that is illegal. Why do you think I am bitter? Why do you accuse me of being a bully? I just like to see the law enforced. And, as for your anonymous blogger at 2:39 PM, I can see Elias Farmers Market from my house. I cannot see Elias Market from my house, because Elias Market is on Tilghman Street in Allentown. And furthermore, the market has been an unlawful use of that property long before the houses started to appear. And Bernie, I did not accuse you of being a felon, I simply said that "I" was not a felon. And I am not an alcoholic. And I am not wallowing in the muck of my life. And I do not have a bicycle as my primary mode of transportation. And I do take a shower every day, with soap. Also, I do not know how I could intimidate Moataz Yassin, the truck driver, by writing something in English? Can he read English? Maybe he will miss the court date because he will be back in Iraq, supporting Muqtadā al-Ṣadr. Enough said about Muqtadā al-Ṣadr. And Moataz Yassin will have plenty of support from Joey "the Godfather" Elias, and Joey "Brylcreem" Pepperoni. Keep your sense of humor Bernie, it goes well with your fat jolly, but unkempt, appearance.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are unkempt on the inside, which is increasingly obvious to one and all. You have painted me as a felon and have painted the Elias family as either Mafia or Islamic terrorists and are relying now on xenophobia. If your behavior on the road does not convict you, your comments here will. I will forward this to Joe Piperato and you can explain it to the judge.

Al Bernotas said...

Bernie, I am not zenophobic. The only person, in this country whom I have grown to dislike is you. Other than that, I do not dislike anyone. I dislike the behavior of some. In your case, it is different. You have distinguished yourself as one who can truly be disliked. Congratulations. No more breath or writing to be wasted on scum like you. Truly scum.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for agreeing to no longer pollute tis blog with your hate.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I'm new to this but I looked into it and what Al Bernotas has said about the COB and the ZHB is true and somewhere inside of you you must know it if you have read the decisions! They (the City of Bethlehem) are not enforcing their own conditions that the ZHB put on the Elias Market! It isn't the neighbors keeping this going. Why doesn't Elias Market just do what was imposed on them and it will be over. People get upset when partiality plays a part in it and they do display partiality right in front of the opposition. Put yourself in their shoes. I hope Justice will prevail. Amen

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow! An anon now telling me that what Bernotas said is true. Bernotas lost at four different levels and is now trying to harass Elias with zoning enforcement matters that are getting tossed when contested. What you are really saying is that you are angry bc things aren't going the way you want them to go. Get over it already and move on to the next crusade.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear about one thing, Al Bernotas is wrong once again. Bernie is a sweetheart and a regular teddybear, and the fact that Al does not see it just shows us how far out of reality's grasp the poor old sod is.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, don't be a twister! The enforcement matters got tossed because the City didn't know what they were doing, either the Zoning Officer or the VERY NEW lawyer that assisted her. They answered "they didn't know" to many questions that Piperato asked and it was up to the City to know what they were doing but they dropped the ball! One could ask WHY did they drop the ball? Was it pure stupidity or collusion? Hopefully some one "smart" in City Hall will figure it out and correct the mishap! Don't count the neighbors near Elias Market out yet..... You just might get a big surprise or should I say Elias will be getting a big surprise too.

Signed: Peaceful and "Confident" in Bethlehem 😊👍😊

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think you have established pretty much beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have completely lost your perspective. The Zoning Officer does not know what she is doing. City lawyers are incompetent. The ZHB is wrong, and the Chair has to go. The Vice Chair has to go, too. Joe Piperato is Joe Pepperoni and his subjected to personal attack. The NC Court of Common pleas, Commonwealth Court and Supreme Court are all wrong. Elias is a mobster and his driver is an Islamic terrorist. I am an alkie and fat. Etc.

Or maybe, just maybe, Al Bernotas is completely full of shit. Maybe the group of you, the three who are left, are spoiled brats used to getting your own way.

If you don't like the way things are, move. I am sure we'll all help you. Elias might even lend you his truck. Now enough. Tis post is about Rosemont, now Al Bernotas and his mean-spirited attacks on everyone who does not do as he says. I will delete any additional OT rant.