Thursday, April 24, 2014

Not Again, Say Bethlehem Zoners

2 W Market St
At their April 23 hearing, Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board refused to consider a zoning appeal filed by Morning Star Partners for an unusual property located at 2 West Market Street because it was basically the same request considered and denied in October. This matter is already on appeal in Northampton County Court, with arguments scheduled in May. But Attorney Jim Preston, representing Morning Star, argued that the inability to market the property over the past six months presented a hardship that would justify a second look. But unanimously, the zoners said No.

The Morning Star property includes a single-family residence, two apartments and two retail businesses. Those businesses have closed. Located in the City's Historic District, it would be difficult to get the approvals needed for demolition or renovations. So Morris asked for a use variance that would allow the home to be used as a financial services office.

In the face of a crowd of residents from the Historic District, including Attorney Timothy Stevens. He successfully argued that res judicata applies.

In other business, zoners turned down a special exception request by Georgina Jimenez for a family daycare center at 820 Itaska Street. In December, zoners delayed making a decision so that Jimenez could provide a property inspection report, indicating it would be safe for children. She presented a 21-page report that noted several safety deficiencies, most of them electrical.

"This is my job, I'm the only one who pays the bills," she pleaded. But Zoning Hearing Board member Linda Shay Gardner told her that, as a parent, she would not want to see children exposed to a safety risks.

Jimenez was asked several times to withdraw her request, and return when the safety concerns were fixed. But she asked for a ruling.

If she had withdrawn her appeal, Jiminez would have to cease operating as a daycare. But if she appeals a denial, she will be able to operate until the matter is heard in Court.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Preston Morris. Is he a newcomer to the legal field?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You told me in a very nice way I got Att'y Preston's name wrong. Just fixed it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

OK Bernie, explain res judicata please.

Anonymous said...

Res judicata basically means a matter that has already been reviewed and judged.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There you go.

Anonymous said...

The 2 W. Market Street matter is also in court at this point as Morningstar Partners have appealed the original decision, with arguments scheduled to begin April 29. . . if you hear of any further developments on this front would appreciate hearing about it.