Tuesday, April 19, 2016
McDonald's Being Rebuilt on Nazareth Pike
The current restaurant is a 4,700 sq ft building, with a ground floor and basement for storage, along with 80 parking places. Boulder Engineer located on approximately 1.9 acres of Bethlehem Plaza. The new restaurant will be smaller, just 4,400 sq ft, and everything will be located on one floor. The building will run parallel to Nazareth Pike to make it easier for vehicular traffic to get in and out. Impervious coverage (macadam) will be reduced by 4,000 sq ft. A storm water basin, located at the north side of the property, will be retained.
Michael Jaitner, an engineer with Boulder Engineering, told Commissioners that McDonald's will also add a significant amount of landscaping, including street trees.
"I hate to say it, but I think I approved the first one," said Tom Nolan of the 35-year old building. His chief concern is the difficulty of making a left hand turn from the McDonald's onto Nazareth Pike. The fast food chain did try to secure a cross easement from Bethlehem Plaza's owner, but was unsuccessful.
Because Nazareth Pike is a state road, PennDOT will have to issue what is known as a Highway Occupancy Permit (HOP) for the fast food chain.
Nolan also expressed concerns about the nearby Monocacy Creek, but was assured that two different regulatory agencies will assure that there are no environmental concerns.
Construction will start in the fall, and is expectedto take 90-110 days.
Kim's Hair Salon
In addition to approving a new McDonalds, Commissioners also voted 3-1 to rezone 3120 Easton Avenue from residential to neighborhood commercial so that Kimberly Andrews could operate Kim's Hair Salon.
Nolan was leery of rezoning residential property to commercial, but noted that Andrews' property is located next to land that is already zoned commercial. He warned it may not be so eay for the next person who wants to rezone residential property to commercial.
"Why is this not spot zoning?" asked Solicitor Jim Broughal. Planning Director Nathan Jones answered that the property is next to a credit union and thus would be an extension of a commercial zone.
Kim Jenkins was the sole No vote.
In a Township plagued with stormwater problems, Commissioners voted 4-0 to seek proposals for a stormwater engineer.
"Don't we already have a Township engineer?" shouted Wayne Kresge from the back of the room.
"Yes, we do," answered Hudak. The Pidcock Company is Bethlehem Township's engineer.He added that Pidcock would be able to submit its qualifications as well. Manager Melissa Shafer explained that she regards a stormwater engineer as "very specialized." She noted that Pidcock does the stormwater review on all land development. "That will not change," she said. "This will be stormwater work outside of those responsibilities.".
Resident Barry Roth asked that the matter be expedited. "I don't want to drag this out until the middle of next year," he said. Shafer indicated a stormwater engineer will be appointed by June 2.
He also complained about a new streetsweeper being purchased by the Township to replace one that is 13 years old. "I have issues with this thing being driven around like it's a personal car," he complained
Blogger's Note: This is the first time I ever saw Michael Hudak run a meeting. I have often portrayed him as an ornery bastard, and he is. I know this because I'm a miserable bastard myself. But as a Chair, he is a different Commissioner. He managed to get through a lengthy agenda in about an hour with a relaxed yet no-nonsense approach, making sure everyone was heard. I was impressed. He even knows how to read, which is a step or two above Breslin.