|ZHB Solicitor Mickey Thompson|
After years of consideration, Bethlehem is close to adopting a new zoning ordinance. A vote is scheduled for August 7. According to Solicitor Mickey Thompson, this creates a "legal limbo" in which rulings could be attacked because the new ordinance is still under consideration.
"I want to protect everybody involved so we are not having a hearing based on nothing," explained Thompson.
Applicants represented by attorneys quickly sought continuances.
Attorney Jim Preston, representing developers Ed Novak and Lou Pektor, wanted two green lights from zoners for a medical office building and employee parting lot at Jack Jones Buick, located on West Broad Street. Complaining that his clients are on a schedule, Preston called the situation a "due process limbo" in which applicants are sent to the Zoning Hearing Board, but are unable to obtain relief. Nevertheless, "out of respect for the Board," Preston agreed to a continuance.
Attorney Harry Newman, representing MM Consultants, wanted zoners to bless the conversion of St John Capistrano's rectory into a training facility for Lehigh Valley Community Health Centers. Training will have to wait. He agreed to a continuance as well.
Zoning Officer Suzanne Borzak told the Board that nine appeals are already scheduled for August, so zoners will schedule an extra night of hearings to accommodate one and all.