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.