Abraham Atiyeh is known for being a developer but recently, he has become the topic of discussion in the city of Allentown due to the number of continuous disputes that he has had with the city. In fact, the Zoning Hearing Board for the city of Allentown recently decided that the billboard sign that Atiyeh placed on the Dime Bank is not legal and will need to be taken down. Atiyeh chose not to come to the meeting because he felt that even before the decision was made, the zoning hearing board would vote against him and his billboard. He felt as though the decision was fixed and feels like the city is targeting him and his business due to his opposition of the hockey arena project. When asked to provide commentary on the current situation, Atiyeh said, “It’s the city being vindictive against me.” He also said, “Instead of working with me, they want to try to abuse their power, use their ‘force of the almighty city,’ to tell me to get the hell out of here.”
The billboard sign that Atiyeh had placed up is an advertisement for his Affordable Alzheimer’s Care and it is currently displayed on the side of the Dime Bank, located on 7th Street. The Dime Bank is currently the only building located on that particular block because the hockey arena is set to be built in that specific area. There are set plans for the Dime Blank, which includes restoring it and having it used as a lobby for the hotel of the hockey arena. Atiyeh was once the owner of Dime Bank, having sold it about eight years ago, back in 2004. Although it has since been sold, developers told Atiyeh that because the lease is still good for another year, he could display the billboard if he wanted to.
While Atiyeh says he received approval from developers, the city begs to differ and is arguing that Atiyeh never took the time out to get a permit that would enable him to advertise such a sign. The city also says that he cannot place such signs on the premises because the Dime Bank is not a building that offers services for those suffering from Alzheimer’s. While the city argues these claims, Atiyeh says that he has an office in the building that he is currently using. The Chairman for the zoning board in Allentown, Daniel McCarthy, however, believes that Atiyeh is lying about the ordeal because pictures have been made available of the office and it does not look as if any space inside the building is being used. At this point in time, Atiyeh must remove the sign otherwise he will be dealing with some serious fines.Abraham Atiyeh vs. the City of Allentown by Harrison Barnes