About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lehigh University to Build New Police Station at Windish Hall

When two police chiefs, a fire chief and Mayor Bob Donchez ask for something, it's hard to say No. At their February 25 meeting, Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board said Yes. In an unanimous 5-0 vote, they granted a use variance that will allow Lehigh University to build a new police station at the site of toe 100 year-old Windish hall, located at 321 E. Packer Ave. Instead of pork sausages and homemade noodles, there will be holding cells and interrogation rooms as Lehigh sees a need to be closer to the community where many of its students live.

Ed Shupp, who has served at Lehigh University for 35 years as both a police officer and Chief, told zoners that Lehigh's police force is accredited and has the authority to enforce both the Crimes Code and City Ordinances. As it has outgrown its current headquarters on University Drive, Chief Shupp wanted a new station that would serve as a "commitment we're making to the community in the area where our students live."

The Windish Hall, an outdated and antiquated wedding and banquet facility, is the perfect site, according to Schupp, because of its proximity to the Zoellner Arts Center and the off-campus stufdent housing in that area.

Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio provided his "full support to Chuef Shupp, noting that the two departments work closely together. They often conduct joint patrols and joint bike patrols. The new police station would serve as a substation for Bethlehem police.

Noting that Lehigh's police force is no campus security department, he told zoners that Lehigh University actually provided police coverage on the entire South Side during the bomb threat at Liberty High School in 2012. He added that the University invested $200,000 in surveillance cameras, both on and off campus, and that Bethlehem dispatchers are able to see what Lehigh sees.
Chief DeLuzio called the new location, standing by itself  a crime deterrent.

After granting a use variance that will allow for a police department inside a residential area, Chairman Gus Loupos commended the two chiefs on their cooperative attitude. "It is so good to see the people of this City work together," he remarked.

But it was sometimes confusing. As Chief Shupp was called, DiLuzio would respond, and vice versa.

"We have too many Chiefs and not enough Indians!" wisecracked zoner Bill Fitzpatrick.

In other business, zoners unanimously approved the application of BethApp Properties to convert a vacant school at 1815 Main Street into a five-unit condominium. They are double the amount of greenspace while retaining 12 parking spots. Principal Eve Metzger argued this vacant property has become a "drain" on the city and added that few people would want to buy it to convert into a mansion. Her husband, Mike Metzger, is the architect. He assured neighbors they plan to "bring back what has been a neglectd property to something of value."

Zoners also granted Leela Jadhav's application for a dimensional variance to permit a daycare at a 5,440 sq ft lot at 746 main Street instead of the required 6,000 sq ft.

But they denied a use variance that would allow Carey Hamm to convert what was once a doctors office into a dog grooming facility at 1809 Columbine Avenue. Realtor Lucy Lennon had sought a special exception that would allow the continuation of a nonconforming use at that residence, but she told zoners that the doctor who once lived there had been retired for many years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very nice