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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Would You Buy a Used Car From This City Council Candidate?

Chris Morales smiles while zoners deliberate
Bethlehem City Council candidate Chris Morales, whose Easy Weenies stands have made him famous, is about more than just hot dogs. Just 26 year old, he's running for office. He also sells used BMWs. But on September 25, his sales pitch fell short with the  Zoning Hearing Board. By a 4-0 vote, with Jim Schantz abstaining, Morales' request for a used car lot in a residential district at 1029 E. Third Street, was denied. .

The City's Zoning Ordinance designates the 3rd St property as residential. But Morales told zoners that, until recently, the now vacant property was once part of a contracting business. County records still list and tax it that way. So Morales proposed a small office trailer at the site, where he would keep between 5-10 high-end used cars. It would be an improvement over current conditions, he explained, noting that "the weeds look like trees" and that "people tend to use it as a dumping site."

He told zoners he would store the cars openly. "I have faith in the neighborhood," he explained. "I've seen a lot of people coming into the neighborhood, driving out the riff raff." He indicated he has a used car license in Schuylkill County, which he would transfer here. "I'm trying to bring some sort of light in the neighborhood," he explained.

Asked about the Greenway behind the proposed car lot, Morales assured zoners that no one would notice his business.

Benjamin Bracero, who lives in an adjacent property, complained that the property has already been used to store vehicles. This attracted vermin, from feral cats to rats.

"I can assure you none of my vehicles will bring rats," responded Morales.

Bracero also said that Morales was evasive when asked about his plans. Morales acknowledged he was reluctant to disclose business plans.

Morales left right after the hearing, so it's unclear whether he plans to appeal. Three other appeals heard by zoners at their September 25 meeting were successful.

Applied Motion Technologies was unanimously granted dimensional variances for a parking lot at 629 Linden Street. This is for students at a school for industrial hydraulics training. They are currently being shuttled to the school, located adjacent to the proposed lot. Under questioning by Attorney Jim Preston, Engineer Jim Milot provided expert testimony concerning the safety of the proposed plan.

Dr. Timothy Lang, whose family dentistry practice at 928 Linden Street has been a Bethlehem institution since the '50s, was unanimously granted use and dimensional variances that will permit him to subdivide his property, with a dental office on one lot and a residence on the second. This property is a nonconforming lot, meaning that it was being used in this fashion before a zoning ordinance was ever adopted. But Attorney Jim Holziner, representing Dr.Lang, told zoners this subdivision would make it easier to market the property when Dr. Lang decides to retire.  Holzinger added that it would be beneficial to the City as well.  "If they change the use, they would have to come back," he argued.

Finally, zoners unanimously agreed to allow Brian and Melissa Lynn to build a single family home on a vacant lot in an approved subdivision at 421 N. Pine Top Place. Though Lynn's plans deviate slightly from the steep slope ordinance, the lot was in place before the ordinance and plans are consistent with other properties in the area.

During the hearings, one person left after realizing his matter haa been continued until next month. As he tried to exit the hearing room, zoner Bill Fitzpatrick wisecracked, "You've been thrown out of better places than this."


Anonymous said...

Good man. I think he will get more votes in the lection than people think.

The city Dem's are lazy!

Anonymous said...

YO BO! Had to post this to you. On Express site regarding your buddy Tricia. She wrote a response and this was your part,

"a revolting psycho (who lives off Ron Angle) . The psycho involved is a disbarred angry and jilted drunk who refuses to move on with his life after I dumped him in 2011."

Oh you crazy guys, you!

Anonymous said...

If a candidate doesn't respect the impact of a used car lot on a community what kind of government representative will he be? Also, is he financing the car lot or a figurehead. Not a good sign at all.

Anonymous said...

Morales will beGREAT on council it's about time we have change in Bethlehem get rid of the good old boy shit.....

Anonymous said...

Morales stands no chance. South Side does not vote in off year elections.
Who from the Dems can he beat? Maybe Waldron? Unlikely, since he is very popular in West Side. No chance at beating Dolan, Evans or Bryan Callahan.

Anonymous said...

Morales has not attended a council meeting this year. How can someone be considered a serious candidate and not even make time to go to meetings? It seems like his run for council is only to increase his name for future business opportunities. But he does seem like a nice enough guy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nonattendance at Council meetings might actually be smart politically bc you get few votes doing that sort of thing. But I think it is extremely important for someone who wants to serve to go to meetings and make himself familiar wit the issues.

n answer to the question suggesting Morales is a strawman, it does not appear to be so. he seems to have a real interest in selling fancy used cars. He even called it a "passion."

I did not care much for his evasiveness with the neighbor. he also seemed to bob and weave a but during questioning, which did not help his credibility with zoners.

But I agree with the person who suggested he'll do well. He presented himself well, does seem to care about the City and is a lot more serious at age 26 than I ever was.

Anonymous said...

Non attendance at meetings, ignorance in fact, might indeed be a smart thing. We need more ignorant people in government.

Anonymous said...

Mountain Medows.

Anonymous said...

The elite Bethlehem city Dem candidates are scared they are attacking a Republican Latino.

Anonymous said...

What is elite about 3 educators and a painting contractor? Seems like blue color everyday people. And does anyone know if any debates are planned for Bethlehem or NoCo council?

Anonymous said...

He will get elected on quickly fading looks and due to being Hispanic. Pay no attention that he has taken the lead from the County Committee and refuses to file ANY campaign finance reports. That is what Bethlehem needs, another politician that can't and won't follow the rules!

Anonymous said...

Latinos have not done well in Bethlehem elections. I expect that to continue.

Anonymous said...

Like the kid on the School Board.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Pay no attention that he has taken the lead from the County Committee and refuses to file ANY campaign finance reports"

I will look into this tomorrow and find out.

Bernie O'Hare said...


He is young but seemed pretty sharp to me. Plenty sharper than i was at his age, although that is not saying much.

Anonymous said...

The Demo's are worried. So the attack begins. Which anointed Dem will fall?

Anonymous said...

The last thing i would ever do is give an arrogant washed up football player/petty hustler any kind of public responsibility.