Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Will Stone Farmhouse Make Way For a Bethlehem Trailer Park?

Bethlehem has never has a mobile home park, but that's exactly what's being proposed at the 100 block of Applebutter Road. Called Applebutter Village, developer Chris Zajacek has proposed 59 units on an 11.8 acre tract. Most of these homes will be crowded on the western side of the tract because the eastern side is obstructed by a PPL power line. But what concerns most people about this development is a 5-window wide stone farmhouse at the front of the tract, built in the 1830s, that will have to be demolished or moved.

At their June 27 meeting, Bethlehem resident Bill Scheirer told the Planning Commission that "every stone house adds to the ambiance of the area and makes it more attractive to the people." He urged the developer to find some way to save the home.

Assistant Planning Director Tracy Samuelson recommended rejecting the plan outright, noting that developers had failed to meet with them to discuss deficiencies in the plan, including units stacked too closely together, which could create a domino effect if a fire broke out. She also objected to narrow streets.

Planning Director Darlene Heller noted that, in a tract of this size, there should be more recreation available than a single basketball court.

But the main concern was that "historically significant farmhouse," slated for demolition.

Attorney James Preston, who was just retained that very day, was able to persuade planners to grant an extension of their consideration until August, but it was conditioned on submission of a new plan by July 14, as well as a point-by-point response to the Planning Department's concerns. Those were memorialized in a three-page letter dated June 3, and described by Planner Steven Thode as "one of the longest letters I've seen in some time."

Eugene Novak, who lives next to the property, questioned the impact this trailer park will have on traffic. "It is very difficult to get out from Applebutter Road to Shimersville Road and Hellertown Road," he complained, adding that his home has been ht by traffic three times in this year alone.

Thode recommended that Preston meet with the neighbors and "get everyone talking."

In other business, Planners approved minor changes to the plan for Bethlehem Silk mill, located at 238 W Goepp Street. Architect Eugene Berg reviewed plans for 17 studios, 36 one-bedroom and 36 two-bedroom units.

They also approved two roof signs at PBS, for 560 sq. ft, amounting to just 2.6% of the roof. Planning Chairman James Fiorentino thought the signs might be for zeppelins, but Thode stated they were for Russian spy satellites.

16 comments:

Zorn said...

just what bethlum needs - trailor trash.(one can be a bigot until friday) has anyone thought of all the heavy traffic (semis and trash trucks) on this road going to and from the landfill?

Anonymous said...

yeah, but think of the trailer park babes...

Trudie Rowkowski said...

Does the City even have housing regulations that cover trailors?

Anonymous said...

Discriminating against trailer trash is a violation of their civil rights.

Anonymous said...

i believe these are modular homes not mobile trailers

Bernie O'Hare said...

Same thing.

Anonymous said...

Mods and trailers are not the same. Aside from not being a state registered mobile vehicle, mods are generally more expensive, better built, and nicer to look at than mobiles (i.e. trailers), due to mods' higher and more varied roof lines. There's a development of these in Forks that looks nicer than any neighborhood in Easton.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that this gentleman stepped up to the plate and invested his hard earned money to purchase this property. The stone farmhouse is his to do with as he pleases. If someone wants to tell him that he cannot tear it down, then they better be prepared to pay him for the taking of his property. And I am supposed to accept fags and lesbians but it is o.k. to look down my nose at this plan because it is a "trailer park"? Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

I would defy most people to tell the difference between a modular home and a stick built home. They look the same. In fact if you can build a stick built home on a lot you can have a modular home on the lot.

that is the law.

Trailers are an entirely different animal.

Anonymous said...

This will not be a trailer park. I am told each unit will have a foundation. That is not how trailer parks are built. This will be high density, detached, affordable housing. The historic house is another issue. The developer should be more sensitive to the historic sensitivies of Bethlehem residents. He should showcase this house, or build a community center in it, without destroying it. Have an association dues for maintaining the house/community center. Just saying...

Bernie O'Hare said...

" There's a development of these in Forks that looks nicer than any neighborhood in Easton."

Pass the bread here comes the baloney.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"And I am supposed to accept fags and lesbians but it is o.k. to look down my nose at this plan because it is a 'trailer park'"?"

I look down my nose at them, too. They decrease property values and attract crime.

Karen Dolan said...

Bernie, you are so right.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Karen, I am going to improve my writing. I am committed to improving it, how's that? You were absolutely right about two verbs stuck together like that. It does sound stronger with one verb.

I had to laugh, I hope you don't mind, that you were teaching.

Valene Resiekev said...

Dolan. an elitist wannabee mayor. toss the teacher for someone who really can handle being a council person.

2010 grad said...
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