|Adelaide Silk Mill in 1907|
Hyman was represented in this matter by prominent zoning attorneys Bill Malkames and John VanLuvanee. Allentown was represented by no one. The building inspector who refused to issue construction permits was a no-show. Same for the Solicitor's office. There simply was no legal basis for denying the permits. In fact, the denial itself could have been appealed. VanLuvanee, in an apparent attempt to allow inspectors to save face, said he was seeking a variance and had no intention of arguing anyone was wrong. But clearly, the inspector was. Hyman referred to him as "overzealous." I personally believe there were political overtones in this denial. That was pretty apparent when the Managing Director came and quietly took notes.
Now VanLuvanee had three witnesses - Nat Hyman, civil engineer Peter Terry and architect Stewart Gouck. Instead of putting everyone through hours of testimony, the attorney presented summaries of what each would say and then asked each witness to agree. Each did. This seemed good enough for Chairman Robert Knauer. It even seemed good enough for member Scott Unger, although he wants an engineer to certify that the Adelaide will not be floating away anytime soon. But Alan Salinger, a former city bureaucrat, had thousands of questions, some of which were downright nonsensical.
Salinger's namesake, J.D., once said, "I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it." That pretty much sums up Alan. From his comments about the "histerocity" of the building to his suggestion that Hyman be somehow required to shore up a flood wall along Jordan Creek, which he doesn't even own, Salinger even worried that the feds might deny grants to the City if the Zoning Hearing Board grants what it already granted well over a year ago. And he took offense when Hyman called the building inspector overzealous.
What should have offended him is that the building inspector was a no-show who wasted everyone's time and money. This especially includes the time and money of the one developer in Allentown who is actually providing affordable housing without handouts through the adaptive re-use of historic buildings.
City Council member Daryl Hendricks smeared Hyman recently, saying it was time for him to put on his "big boy pants." Hendricks should ask that question of the city inspectors and lawyers who failed to show last night. While he's at it, he should ask it of himself.
The story I saw was a developer who asks for nothing and is providing the city exactly what it needs. I also believe the hoops Hyman is forced to jump through are certainly political and possibly something far worse.