Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Bethlehem Tp Comm'rs Approve Duplex Over Neighbors' Objections
The vote was 3 to 1, with Nolan, Marty Zawarski and Phil Barnard supporting the development. Pat Breslin voted No, without explanation. Michael Hudak was absent.
Richard Brescia, who lives on Spear Street, questioned whether this is really a "by right" development. He noted that, though the zoning ordinance does allow for duplexes in that zoned area, it also mandates a balancing act, under its express terms, to "carefully control the types of housing to ensure compatibility with existing homes." He denied that a duplex is compatible with the existing homes in that neighborhood,
Brescia was joined by two Spear Street neighbors, Charles Milositz and Joe Stofanak. who stated the nearest duplex is a mile away. "It just doesn't fit," added Milositz.
These neighbors they were absent when this matter was presented to the Planning Commission, and have no plans to sue.
After the meeting, Phil Barnard took no pleasure in voting against these neighbors. "We were kind of handcuffed," he observed. Nolan had previously stated, "We have to uphold our ordinances."
In other business, Commissioners got an earful from a frustrated Anthony Billone. He told Commissioners that his father's home, located on Farmersville Road directly across the street by Deja Vu Kennel, is being treated as both a parking lot and bathroom stop for the pets. Customers even park in and block his father's driveway. When he's called the police, he's been told it's a zoning issue, When he's called zoning, he's told to call the police.
Deja Vu Kennel is exempt from the zoning requirements of off-street parking because it existed before the ordinance went into effect. But that's no consolation to Billone. "We can't get in and out of our own driveway," he complained.He indicated one truck with all kinds of lawn maintenance equipment is deliberately parked on his father's property. No Trespassing signs are torn down.
Nathan Jones, Bethlehem Township's new Planning Director, stated that some type of enforcement action is being pondered, and would call Billone with an answer today.
In addition to dealing with unhappy neighbors, Commissioners voted 4-0 in support of an amendment to the Township's Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance that will require owners to bear the costs of streelighting in future non-residential development.
They also authorized their Solicitor, John Harrison, to "intervene" in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's pre-application hearing with respect to the PennEast Pipeline. That pipeline is currently scheduled to slice through the eastern portion of the Township.
Harrison explained that it is currently too early to intervene. The motion gives him the authority to do so when the time is right. He added that intervention does not mean that the Township is taking sides, either in support of or against the pipeline. For now, it is acting as an observer.