Lehigh Valley

Allentown zoners hear plan for affordable housing in Union Terrace neighborhood

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A plan to develop seven acres on Fairview Street in Allentown for affordable housing units will be continued before the city’s Zoning Hearing Board.

City zoners Monday night granted the request for a continuation made by representatives of developer Abe Atiyeh, who is proposing to build three four-story 40-unit apartment buildings at 1834-1940 W. Fairview St. in Allentown’s Union Terrace neighborhood.

Atiyeh is seeking a use variance to allow the project to move forward on what has been zoned as parkland for decades. Mickey Thompson, chief executive officer for Atiyeh’s development company, said the land has been a nonconforming use since its days when a concrete batch plant was proposed there.

He said the housing units would serve city residents who work blue-collar or minimum wage jobs, noting that the city needs new housing to serve people in this economic class.

“They deserve a nice, clean place” within walking distance of the downtown and public transportation, Thompson said. Monthly rent for the units would range from $695 for a studio efficiency unit to $995 for two-bedroom apartment.

When the board began to question how the proposal would affect traffic patterns, Thompson and his attorney asked to return at a later meeting with their traffic engineer.

Thompson said outside the meeting room that the zoning mater is the first step in what could be a six-month process to win approval for the project. Atiyeh also would need to take the plan before the Planning Commission to make sure it meets ordinances for storm water control and related issues.

In other business, the board approved a plan by developer Nat Hyman to convert 7,000 square feet of first-floor retail space in the 300 block of Linden Street into 101 apartments.


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