North Bethlehem Action Committee

About Us

We are group of residents who care deeply about the quality of our North Bethlehem community and are proud to live in this beautiful part of the city. We are not against change, nor are we anti-development. We support drug and alcohol treatment when it is appropriately located and operated. Rather, we wish to ensure that whatever changes are made are in the best interests of the neighborhood and City at large.

Since 2010 several of us have been sought to find appropriate modifications to developer Abraham Atiyeh's proposed projects. Our efforts have been concerned about promoting the safety, morals and general welfare of our neighborhoods and to insure its character. Some of us have retained legal counsel to oppose the various Atiyeh applications for rehab facilities, office buildings and high density apartments in our residential neighborhood, adjacent to our schools and parks.

In October 2011, we stepped up our efforts when Atiyeh applied for a special exception to convert the Calvary Baptist Church building at 111 Dewberry Avenue into a 70 bed drug and alcohol residential treatment facility. We were successful in getting support from the mayor and from City Council. We retained legal counsel. City Council instructed their solicitor, Chris Spadoni, to intervene against the request. Others got involved. On April 5, 2012, the Zoning Hearing Board issues their decision to deny request for a special exception; he chose not to appeal this decision.

On April 5, 2012 we proposed a change to Bethlehem’s Zoning Ordinance to restrict the location of rehabs by requiring a significant buffer between rehab facilities and schools, playgrounds, parks, and day care facilities. An expanded scope of this proposal ultimately became part of the updated Zoning Ordinances.

On June 13, 2012, Atiyeh received a special exception to put a 150 bed rehab facility at 825 12th Avenue, an industrial district away from schools and residential neighborhoods; a condition of this approval was that he withdraw his other applications for special exceptions for rehab facilities at 2110 Center Street and 2349 Linden Avenue. Many of us supported this compromise.

However, after losing a request for a variance to turn the 2110 Center Street residence into an office building, Atiyeh changed his mind and proceeded with a request for a special exception for the rehab facilities at 2110 Center and 2349 Linden. With the active participation of City Council’s solicitor and others, we have opposed, and continue to oppose, these applications.

On August 16, 2012, at a Bethlehem Planning Commission meeting, several members and our legal counsel opposed Atiyeh’s request to build an 85 unit apartment building at 1838 Center Street. There were a number of deficiencies in the application and the process, including the handling of storm water. The Planning Commission unanimously voted down Atiyeh’s request.

On October 5, 2012, Judge Smith remanded Atiyeh’s appeal to build a 125 bed drug, alcohol and psychiatric treatment center at 1838 Center Street back to the Zoning Hearing Board. On November 2, 2012, Atiyeh appealed this ruling. We will continue to support the City in their opposition to this facility.

We expect to continue to oppose inappropriate facilities in our residential neighborhood, near our schools and parks.

Greg Zebrowski. 23 Dewberry Avenue

Alexander Schwarz, 1949 Main Street

Lawrence Dugan, 1976 Main Street

William Nelson, 1965 Main Street

Stewart Early, 2277 Main Street

Mark Blomfield, 2109 Main Street

Murt Abuwala, 2101 Main Street

Vicki Evert, 1851 Millard Street

Sue Glemser, 2132 Sycamore Street

Ron Donchez, 2314 Main Street

John Schadt, 311 Bridle Path Road

Dennis Domchek, 269 W. Langhorne Ave

Licia Paulus, 2530 Madison Avenue

Brie Chambers, 555 Bierys Bridge