The Zoning Hearing Board has allowed another illegal use to continue, and the ZHB has also ignored the requirement to have two parking spaces for each residential dwelling unit. This particular appeal needed four (4) parking spaces, they only have one (1). But, no matter, the ZHB decision makes the two dwelling units legal, and they don't need no stinkin' parking spaces.
It is a new zoning ordinance, but it is the same old style of the Zoning Hearing Board, the slumification and densification of Bethlehem. Of course, that is only my opinion, but let me share a few facts and thoughts with you.
1210 Linden Street is half of a double. In Bethlehem, half of a double is a single dwelling unit. If you drove by the building, which is across the street from Liberty High School, you would see that it is part of a group of three buildings, each having two dwelling units.
That is, except for 1210 Linden Street, which evidently has two dwelling units in half of a double, illegally, and for over 30 years, maybe longer. The City never knew about it. The owner collected rent from the illegal unit, but, according to testimony, never paid taxes on the two units, maybe never even paid income tax on the rental income.
This is based upon testimony from the equitable owner, one Rachel E. Haddad. An equitable owner is not really the owner, they are someone who signed an agreement of sale to purchase a property, and the courts consider them equitable owners. Usually they are investors, you know, like Abe Atiyeh. He is the equitable owner of just about every property he brings before the Zoning Hearing Board. You get the picture.
Getting back to 1210 Linden, this half of a double was built in 1920, according to tax records. According to Tom Demshock, a Bethlehem Realtor, 1210 Linden Street has had an illegal dwelling unit on the second floor since around 1949. It was illegal then, it is illegal now. Of course, Tom did not say the second dwelling unit was illegal. He just said it was there for a long time. He needs the commission.
The current, and past, zoning ordinance requires 3,000 square feet for each dwelling unit, 6,000 square feet for two. What does the ZHB do, they say, not to worry, we will let you get away with 1,000 square feet per dwelling unit. Look, we are trying to build a Favela here on the north side of Bethlehem. We are well on our way to our south side Favela, you can just stuff those dwelling units into wherever you please. We'll ok it.
Why does this happen, well, in my opinion it is low personal standards, and it's the old ostrich syndrome which the ZHB assiduously follows. Keep your head in the sand, don't worry about the rules or the zoning ordinance, or illegality, or low standards, just stay low 'til the storm blows over.
This expert guidance is usually given to the ZHB by their stalwart solicitor, Mickey K. Thompson, in-house attorney to Abe Atiyeh. Should that matter? It shouldn’t, but it does. The ZHB is without a rudder and certainly seems to have no plans to uphold the "new" zoning ordinance.
Why should they, they did not uphold the old one.
Rules. We don't need no stinkin' rules.