North Bethlehem Action Committee Protecting the future of our neighborhood
At the request of Acadia Health Care, the Planning Commission withdrew the application for a psychiatric hospital at 1838 Center from their September 22, 2016, agenda; Acadia has decided to no longer pursue the project.
In June, The Planning Commission approved Mr. Atiyeh’s request to subdivide 2 acres of Bethlehem Memorial Park, adjacent to 1838 Center, potentially giving him 7 acres there.
1838 Center Street (Center and Dewberry).
80-bed hospital. Acadia Health Care had entered into an agreement to purchase the 5 acres from Mr. Atiyeh, subject to the ability to obtain the necessary approvals to develop the site. Acadia, a substantial international corporation, provides psychiatric and chemical dependency services in a variety of settings, including inpatient psychiatric hospitals, specialty treatment facilities, and residential treatment centers. Recently they purchased Belmont Behavioral Hospital in Philadelphia (see profile from American Hospital Directory).
In 2013, the Planning Commission approved the site for a hospital, subject to many conditions including that the applicant cannot operate a Treatment Center at this location. The hospital that was approved is to be regulated by the PA Department of Health, consistent with definitions in the Zoning Ordinance (see Sept 12 PC approval letter to Atiyeh and reference Sept 5 City Review letter to Atiyeh).
Acadia was proposing to build a psychiatric hospital, which are regulated by the Department of Public Welfare. The information available is limited. See one-page description provided on September 2nd by Angela Castro, Director of Business & Referral Development at Belmont Behavioral Hospital.
Based on helpful discussions with Acadia representative on September 7th, we learned that the facility will focus on patients in the midst of an acute psychiatric crisis, acute enough that they are considered to be a danger to themselves and/or to others.
They will likely come from local emergency rooms, or the dropped or by local law enforcement.
At the psychiatric hospital, they will be stabilized, assessed/diagnosed for their illness(es) and referred to other facilities for treatment of their illness(es).
The average stay was estimated at 7 days; hence this facility would see over 4000 patients per year.
Some patients will be there involuntarily. Some patents will arrive in a drug induced psychosis.
The facility will be a lock down facility, with the appropriate security fencing, lighting, etc.
2-acre subdivision at 1845 Madison Avenue, adjacent to 1838 Center Street. Mr. Atiyeh successfully sought a subdivision of the Bethlehem Memorial Park property. He has not indicated what he would do with this property, which is zoned institutional.
2349 Linden Avenue. (formerly the Moose & Bug florist)
Since agreeing not to pursue a Treatment Center on this site, Mr. Atiyeh has attempted several ways to create value. Most recently, after being unable to use a variance for single family attached dwelling, he received approval from the Zoning Hearing Board to locate his corporate offices to that site.
825 12th Avenue. Presumably, Mr. Atiyeh will pursue the development of the approved residential treatment facility at this location during the next five years.
Atiyeh’s remarks on “Land Development 101”. At a May 22nd Easton City Council meeting, Mr. Atiyeh reportedly warned about the City being blackmailed into a deal. “I know. I do it all the time,” Atiyeh said. “I say I’ll put a treatment center or a prison in. I do it all the time.” Then he reportedly went on to make a threat of his own.