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 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 issued 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.

In November and December 2012, several members and legal counsel successfully opposed Atiyeh’s request to the ZHB for special exceptions for residential rehab facilities at 2110 Center and 2349 Linden.

In the spring of 2013, we participated in public meetings to ensure that we do not end up with a rehab facility at 1838 Center. Many of us would support a proper hospital located there; however, we wonder how such a facility could compete successfully with the many well equipped and fully staffed hospitals close by. Without a competitive capabilities and cost structure, many of us are concerned that it would eventually become a drug and alcohol rehab facility. Locating such a facility across from Becahi, near playgrounds and parks, in the midst of our residential neighborhood is not appropriate.

Also in the spring of 2013, we supported the formation of the Spring Garden Neighborhood Association to oppose the location of a treatment facility at 2349 Linden Street, across the street from Spring Garden Elementary School. Their efforts have been successful. As part of a settlement documented in a status report (January 7, 2014), Mr. Atiyeh agreed not to submit a development plan for a treatment facility at that location.

In the fall of 2013, the Planning Commission held hearings on an application for an 80-bed hospital to be located at 1838 Center Street. We actively participated in the hearings, to insure that any approval would not be used for a treatment facility.

In 2015 and 2016, we have monitored applications, hearings and meetings involving 1838 Center and 2349 Linden. In June, 2016 we participated in subdivision hearings request by Mr. Atiyeh for 2 acres adjacent to 1838 Center. In September, 2016, we met with Acadia Health Care regarding the psychiatric hospital they proposed for 1838 Center.

We continue to serve as a focal point for collecting and disseminating information about the status and design of the hospital approved for 1838 Center Street. 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

Dennis Douvanis, 1944 Main Street

Bill Moran, 2345 Center Street

Stewart Early, 2277 Main Street

Dennis Domchek, 269 W. Langhorne Ave

John Schadt, 311 Bridle Path Road

Vicki Evert, 1851 Millard Street

Sue Glemser, 2132 Sycamore Street

Ron Donchez, 2314 Main Street

Dan Wells, 2251 Main Street

Murt Abuwala, 2101 Main Street

Licia Paulus, 2530 Madison Avenue

Brie Chambers, 555 Bierys Bridge

Diane and Tim Mason, 2411 Woodstock Drive