Jason Engelhardt, of Langan Engineering, submitted a development plan on August 19. And on August 25, he and Allentown Attorney James Preston asked the Zoning Hearing Board to permit the grocery store to operate in what is technically a light industrial zone.
Preston, departing from his usual terse legal arguments, enthusiastically explained how Bottom Dollar works. Most grocery stores carry numerous brands of the same product, but this full-size grocer carries only three, including its own. This allows for more aisle space, like the 13,000 square feet being planned for the Stefko site. The store will also feature fresh produce, but no butcher.
Pharmachem Specialties, which manufactured a bio-polymer, ceased operations at the proposed site last February. Engelhardt told zoners that, in addition to a 21,000 sq ft industrial plant, there are above ground storage tanks. Bore samples also reveal a lot of ash and cinders at the site, "less than ideal" for supporting a grocery store. Another engineering challenge is a 40' change in elevation from Stefko to the western boundary.
Zoner Glenn Taggart, like Planning Chair Lawrence Krauter, suggested that the grocery store be built closer to Stefko Boulevard. "We certainly will consider that," answered Engelhardt.
Zoners unanimously approved the operation of this grocery store in a light industrial area, especially since the new Zoning Ordinance will rezone this area to commercial. they also approved signage on the building and at two monuments.
"Now, can we weigh in on the three brands of bacon?" joked Zoner William Fitzpatrick.
In other business, Nick's Pizza, located at the 800 block of Main Street, was given permission to sell more Italian cuisine. Owner Nick Bozakis, represented by Bethlehem Attorney James Holzinger, told zoners he'd like to add six tables in a vacant adjoining building, which has operated as a video store, gift shop, notary and cell phone store.
Christopher Brown, a son of legendary Bethlehem public servant Charlie Brown, was given the nod for a small, 15' x13' rear yard addition to his Evergreen Place home. And Sergio DeLaHoz was allowed to relocate his check cashing business to 333 Broadway, which is just two doors away from his current location. Zoners noted he will still be 1,000' away from any other check cashing business and over 5,000' away from the casino.