But Elias' desire to expand its Bethlehem business has upset neighbors, who complain about loud trucks, noxious odors and the "horrific impact" that a 25' high warehouse, just a stone's throw from homes, would present. "They're building a factory in a residential area," complains expansion opponent Al Bernotas. This argument has spilled over into Court, where Judge Edwards Smith's chief concern is that "neighbors and owners have different views of what is going on." Planning Chair Lawrence Krauter last week encouraged the parties to sit down and talk to each other.
To that end, Elias Market has reached out with this message:
To all Elias Market Neighbors,
As you all know, we all have spent the past year debating about the improvements we would like to make for our business. Therefore, we would like to be given the opportunity to meet with all of you and explain, in person, our plans. We feel this meeting is crucial to fully understanding the necessity behind our reasoning for making these improvements.
We would like to meet with all of you at our store location on Sunday, the 29th of August, at 6 PM. Refreshments will be provided. Please email us at email@example.com if you plan on attending or have any questions or concerns.
We hope this meeting will eliminate some of the misunderstandings that are occuring and help us all come to an agreement.
Unfortunately, many of the expansion opponents are unavailable this Sunday, as Al Bernotas states in this email:
To the Elias Family:
A number of neighbors around the 3131 Linden Street store received invitations to meet with you at the store, on Sunday, August 29th, at 6:00 PM.
We appreciate the good gesture.
Unfortunately, many of the neighbors cannot make the August 29th meeting. Many have to work, myself included. I work until 9:00 PM on Sunday nights. Two others are in the healthcare field, and they are scheduled to work their shifts at their hospitals in your suggested meeting timeframe. One other interested neighbor is on vacation over this coming weekend. The short notice caught many of us off guard. It would be better to arrange a mutually convenient time and location, and it would be better to meet somewhere other than the store, such as a church meeting room, or possibly a meeting room at the Northampton Community College. We can arrange another location, one that could hold a large number of people. Neighbors, in addition to the ones with notes posted on the door may be interested in attending.
I have spoken, directly, with members of the following families: Fang, Arbushites, Long, and Ward.
In speaking with these families, they have suggested that we meet sometime after Tuesday, September 7th, in order to allow families to complete their vacation plans, and make themselves available. Therefore, we will contact you after September 7th with suggested meeting dates. This should give these families, other neighbors, and you, ample time to plan a mutually convenient meeting.
Please acknowledge receipt of this email.
And please feel free to call me anytime. I would be happy to coordinate the neighbor side of this meeting.
I've been told that the Elias family intends to go ahead with their open house as planned, and hope that as many neighbors as possible can attend. I hope they also can host another open house for those who were unable to make it the first time.