Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brew Takes Biz Out of Historic District

Juan Hernandez is flanked on left and right by Attorneys Frank Trovato and Jim Preston
After a contentious hearing in August, Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board gave John Brew a green light to move his financial planning operations to The Bethlehem Inn, a historic district bed and breakfast located at 476 North New St. This decision was appealed by eight residents led by Attorney Tim Stevens, who lives in the historic district. Rather than fight his neighbors, Brew has chosen to move.

Solicitor Mickey Thompson, in a report to zoners during their December 19 meeting, advised them that Brew has decided to move into West Bethlehem, which will likely end the litigation.

Thompson also updated zoners on the status of the Elias Farmer's Market expansion, which was first approved in 2009. It's currently under appeal in Commonwealth Court with a tentative argument date set in March. "We got out of Iraq during all this time. We had the leak in the Gulf and it was capped," lamented zoner Bill Fitzpatrick.

In other business, zoners granted three appeals.

Brad Stine, represented by Jim Preston, was granted a use variance for a single-family home at 1456 Philip Street despite being located in a "steep slope" area. Stine, who purchased the property in 2007, told zoners that the home he plans to build is no different than other homes built in that area by Habitat for Humanity. "We're not doing anything out of the ordinary," he testified.

But Juan Hernandez, represented by Attorney Frank Trovato, disagreed. The retired steelworker told zoners he has lived in that area for 55 years, and is affected by the storm water runoff. "South Mountain is getting savaged lately," he complained.

Preston told zoners that, without some minimal zoning relief, there would be an "absolute impossibility" to develop the small, 4,008 sq ft, tract.

Zoners unanimously approved Stine's appeal, and repeated that approval in a second "steep slope" case at East 9th and Shields Street.

Patrict J. Ruggiero, an architecture student, described plans for a 1,700 sq ft home on a 11,900 sq ft tract next to Shields Street, with a commanding view of the Southside. He intends to live there. Attorney Jim Holzinger, representing Ruggiero, pointed out that the Southside is full of undersized lots. "If you don't grant variances, they end up being sterilized," he argued.

After granted the appeal unanimously, ZHB member Linda Shay Gardner asked, "Can we come to the July 4 party to look at the fireworks?"

In their final matter, zoners unanimously granted a parking variance for a hair salon at 1461 Stefko Boulevard, allowing five instead of six off-street parking places. Budd Kristofik, who has a business next door, complained that customers would park on his property. But Realtor Lucy Lennon, representing the owner, offered to put up signs. "I wouldn't do anything to hurt any neighborhood ever, especially in a merchant community," she testified.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie, the Rajah of Rezoning took a shot from the courts, they threw out one of his frivilous suits.

And so it goes.

Anonymous said...

the people who live in the hysterical distict are nothing but snobs

Anonymous said...

@3:27 Anon coward!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Hey Bernie, the Rajah of Rezoning took a shot from the courts, they threw out one of his frivilous suits."

I see that Judge Ford rejected one of his appeals in LC.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"the people who live in the hysterical distict are nothing but snobs"

They're rich. I don't think I'd call them snobs. At least not most of them. I think they really care about that area and feel it is something bigger than them. They have agreed to restrictions on their own property and subject themselves to a HARB.