Located at Dreamers Self Storage at 1022 Hellertown Road, the proposed LED has already been home to a one-sided billboard, which was first installed in 1929. Adams Outdoor Advertising's Lois Archzewski, in very detailed and articulate testimony, actually produced the original lease. More importantly, she told zoners that this sign is 555' away from the nearest residentially zoned district.
Archzewski told zoners that LED signs have existed since 2001, and were introduced to the Lehigh Valley in 2007. She explained that for the 1,000 signs under her control, only 14 are LEDs, which only go into "strategic locations."
She called the 1022 Hellertown Road site, located along Rte 412 and near Interstate 78, a "gateway to Bethlehem," surrounded by 1,000 acres of industrial land leading to an emerging entertainment district.
She also explained that LED signs have many advantages over static displays. For one thing, Adams Outdoor makes community advertising available to the City on a space available basis. More importantly, the LED can be used for emergency messages. Located close to an Interstate, this sign will be able to warn drivers if there is an accident. Noting the snowstorm several years ago in which some people were stranded on highways for thirty-six hours, she indicated that a sign could have warned people where to get off the highway. "If we only had digital then," she lamented.
Messages will display for six seconds, to be replaced by another. PennDOT requires the changes to take place within a second, and prohibits fading. The changes are imperceptible to the human eye.
According to Archzewski, streetlights and the headlights of oncoming traffic have more lumens than an LED sign. There is also an automatic dimmer for the evening and even stormy weather
Coopersburg resident John Domingas, who owns a rental property at 1028 Hellertown Road, complained that his tenants will move out because of the glare. But in response to questioning from Allentown Attorney Vic Cavacini, Domingas admitted that his rental is in an industrial area. Colleen Miller, who owns the site being leased by Adams Outdoor, added that 30' arborvitaes planted at the LED site will block at least 2/3 of the view from the Domingas property.
City activist Bill Scheirer, armed with maps under his arms, asked to address the Zoning Hearing Board. But Attorney Cavacini objected noting that Scheirer lacked standing because he has no direct interest and resides more than 300' away from the proposed LED.
A similar objection was was sustained to 1503 Creek Road.resident Larry Eighmy, who was actually there to present his own appeal. He lives 0.9 miles away from the proposed LED, according to Google maps.
When 1032 Main Street resident Martha Popichak (3.9 miles away) was denied standing as well, she argued that any resident should be able to speak about something placed near a "gateway of the City." "I would like to know what the avenues are to make our voices heard," she complained.
Solicitor Mickey Thompson explained that listening to people who have no standing might "taint" a quasi-judicial proceeding, which could be reversible error.