Friday, April 27, 2012

Zoners Refuse To Budge on Parking Requirements For Ex-Cons

In a rare split decision at their April 26 meeting, Bethlehem zoners refused to budge on a request for a variance from parking requirements for a halfway house proposed at 639 Broadway.

Yasin Kacak, a Chaplain at a state correctional facility, asked zoners he'd like them to wave 4 off-street parking spots required for his facility, which would house up to four recently released criminals for up to six months. Kacak noted these would be nonviolent offenders who would have no car, and offered to agree to that as a condition of the variance.

But numerous neighbors raised parking concerns. Ann Kehoe, who with her husband Gerry operate a nearby bar, noted that visitors would be coming in cars, making it difficult for her customers to find parking spaces.

"You're a non-profit. I'm a profit. We need parking," she said. "Everybody in our neighborhood seems to have ten cars," she joked.

Alaska Street resident Edward Holmes shared Kehoe's parking concern. "Parking is a huge issue," he stated. "I should be able to park on my own block."

Residents were also concerned about the proximity of recently released criminals. "We have so many children," said Pawnee Street's Neil Davis. "How do we know what kind of prisoner is going to be moving in there."

Zoning Solicitor stopped Davis from challenging the use, noting that a boarding house for ex-prisoners is expressly authorized at that location.

Kacak told zoners that there would be a 10 PM curfew for visitors, which seemed to mollify Pawneee Street's Dave Delp. "I really don't see a problem," he concluded.

But three zoners did. Gus Loupos, Bill Fitzpatrick and Michael Santanasto refused to grant a parking variance. Linda Shay Gardner and James Schantz dissented.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good for the ZHB. The south side already has enough criminals

Anonymous said...

A well-considered project but parking is a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

So the neighbors are concerned with rehabilitated criminals and not the ones that occupy the streets of South Bethlehem now?

The Kehoe's have customers that drive after they get done taking every last cent of their measly paychecks for cheap watered down booze?