Bethlehem Press

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bethlehem: Drug center hearing continues Oct. 16

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by BERNIE O'HARE Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Bethlehem City Council Solicitor Chris Spadoni was having a rough night. A former prosecutor, he was batting 0 for 4 in objections to testimony during Abe Atiyeh's quest for zoning approval of residential drug and alcohol treatment centers at 2110 Center St. and 2349 Linden St. With no success, he argued that Atiyeh's engineer David Harte lacks the qualifications to describe the management and operation of a drug and alcohol treatment center. He also objected unsuccessfully to Harte offering opinions on the criteria for this use, insisting that this was the ultimate question to be decided by the Zoning Hearing Board.

"Nice try," joked Atiyeh, after one of Spadoni's failed objections.

But on his fifth swing, Spadoni sent one over the fence, temporarily ending the presentation of the second application filed by Atiyeh.

In addition to a 28-bed residential treatment center at 2110 Center St., he's planning a 47-bed residential treatment facility at 2349 Linden St., site of what were once the Moose and Bug greenhouses. They'll be demolished, and a two-story, 35,000-square-foot building will take their place.

Just as Attorney William Malkames began to question Harte, Spadoni objected, noting inconsistencies between the actual application and the advertisement.

"We tumbled off the road and into the weeds," said the Bethlehem barrister. "The advertisement does not match the application."

After reviewing the advertisement, Malkames agreed, and suggested that the matter be advertised again. Abe Atiyeh was a little reticent until he was assured his application will still be considered under the old zoning ordinance.

Testimony will continue on the 2110 Center St. application Oct. 16, 6 p.m. Two days later, zoners will continue with the request for a drug and alcohol rehab facility at 2349 Linden St.

Zoning Hearing Board member Bill Fitzpatrick disclosed that he is a teacher at the Arts Academy Charter School, which is a tenant in a building owned by Atiyeh. Fitzpatrick stated he saw no reason to recuse himself, but would step aside if others objected. Nobody did. Fitzpatrick has voted against nearly every Atiyeh application.