Zoners Reject Drug Rehabilitation Clinic

Board unanimously turns down Abraham Atiyeh's plan to turn vacant church into treatment center for drug and alcohol abusers.


The Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Board unanimously rejected developer Abraham Atiyeh’s plan to convert a vacant church on Dewberry Avenue to a 70-bed inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center on Monday night.

Atiyeh told The Express-Times that he intends to appeal the decision.

The land use plan, hashed out over eight separate sessions of the Zoning Hearing Board, was opposed by , City Council and a group of neighbors who hired their own attorney.

The that putting a rehabilitation clinic next to a school poses a danger to students. Neighbors and city council also argued that a drug treatment facility is not a desirable land use in that mostly residential neighborhood.

Atiyeh and his representatives argued that in Bethlehem or the Lehigh Valley and that this facility poses no threat to the neighborhood.

In one of the meetings, Atiyeh tried to inject some star power into his argument by bringing in former to tout the benefits of rehabilitation clinics. Noles testified that such a clinic turned his life around.

The board offered no explanation for its decision. That will be made clear when it issues its formal written opinion in 45 days.

Rosemary B March 06, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Hallelujah! Now if only he would not waste our time with an appeal!
Aaron Smith April 25, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Yet another example of the NIMBY mentality - "not in my back yard!" Everyone wants to see reduced rates of crime and addiction, but city officials and their constituents don't seem to be willing to do what it takes. The irony here is that the kids at surrounding schools and suburban homes are probably more dangerous when the addicted people around them don't get the help they need. http://recoveryfirst.org/relapse-the-number-one-problem-for-addicts-and-alcoholics.html/
Dave Davidson April 26, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Rosemary - I understand that some people are reticent about having rehab clinics in their areas, but how do you propose we help addicts? How do you think we're really going to address drug crime? By ignoring the problem, ignoring those who need treatment, and hoping the problem goes away? That kind of mentality is what perpetuates addiction and keeps people from getting the help they need. http://www.squidoo.com/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome
Rosemary B April 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Then I strongly suggest that they put a nice big drug rehab right next to Liberty High School. Or, better yet, Freedom High School. Or by where your child plays little league or where your grandmother lives. I think you you should volunteer to see what happens to your property values or your private school when they put it in your neighborhood. I totally see the need for facilities such as this I just don't see the wisdom of putting it where they wanted to put it.


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