Large Bethlehem Manor addition approved by Planning Commission

(The latest in a series of posts on Neighborhoods)

Sara K. Satullo, “West Bethlehem nursing home clears first hurdle to expansion.” lehighvalleylive.com., July 12.

Last week Gadfly called attention to this proposed huge addition to Bethlehem Manor at the old Rosemont School. He remembered the neighborhood uproar 3-4 years ago on the original proposal and expected the same now — no, he expected more uproar.

August 12, 2015:

But, surprisingly, there was no uproar, and an increase of 70% in the number of beds was approved by the Planning Commission. The proposal still must go to the Zoning Board and then back to Planning.

Two residents – including the neighborhood association president – spoke favorably, one neighbor, the only property adjoining the Manor, had concerns.

In these two audio clips, the attorney for Bethlehem Manor introduces their project, indicating the catalyst for the 54-bed, 3-story addition to the facility is the desire for residents to have single rooms. All of the spaces in the existing facility are multiple occupancy. He reviewed traffic and parking and indicated the addition should cause no additional concern. The variance needed is for the number of additional beds.

The President of the Rosemont neighbors group said they had “grave concerns” at the time of the original project, but he now had good things to say about relationship with the Manor management. He mentioned concerns about parking, storm water, and that it remain a personal care business. There are, he said, no red flags at the moment as long as things remain “status quo.” Another neighbor reiterated the “good mesh” between the Manor and the neighbors and related only concern about the back-up alarm nuisance with the fire trucks and ambulances, alarms that can not be disabled (but the nuisance will surely increase with the additional beds).

The adjoining neighbor had three concerns: a 6ft. privacy fence that was never constructed, deliveries on the north side that were not to be allowed, and storm water.

The PC will forward this neighbor’s concerns to the Zoning Board, but discussion about them brought controversial developer Abe Atiyeh to the microphone. Gadfly had read about Atiyeh in regard to several other disputed projects but had never seen him in action. Perhaps the same with you. So Gadfly includes this video in which you will see Atiyeh make the case for not providing the privacy fence that he was supposed to.

He makes an interesting case.

Again, Gadfly, must express surprise that such a large increase in this residential area is going down so far so smoothly.

He will post an alert when the case comes before Zoning (August 14?), just in cause there is still ignorance of the project or lurking discontent over it.

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