Friday, June 03, 2016

Bethlehem ZHB Approves Office Building in Historic District

Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board last night approved Morning Star Partners' plans to locate a financial services business at the northwest intersection of West Market and North New Streets. This unique property, which consists of both a home and two retail businesses, is known both as 2 West Market and 511 North New Streets. It is located in the heart of the City's historic district. But because Chairman Gus Loupos was unavailable, the decision will instead come at a special meeting scheduled for June 2 at 6 pm. in Town Hall.

The majestic home, known as the Schadt house, is a single-family residence built in the 1840s. The green buildings, first built in the 1820s, are retail establishments and once included the manufacturer of brass instruments for the Moravian Church.

Morning Star Partners are represented by zoning attorney Jim Preston.

Bill Fitzpatrick, the Vice Chair, has recused himself based on a potential conflict.

The Board granted a use variance subject to the following conditions:

1. Any renovations shall be substantially similar to what was testified.
2. There may be one single entity and it must be a professional office use as well as one residential use.
3. The 2nd floor of the current green buildings may only be storage for the professional office. If the residential unit is to be above the green buildings, the 2nd story of the garage may only be storage for the professional office.
4. Maximum number of employees may not exceed what was testified to (no more than 14).


Patriot2 said...

This decision won't prevail upon appeal as a variance to make the Main house offices has already been turned down in both the lower & Commonwealth Court. How many bites of the Apple does this guy get?

Anonymous said...

What section and sub-section of the zoning code was this use variance granted under?
How is this use variance different than the one Judge Hannah Leavitt said should not be allowed in the last court appeal of the five to zero denial by the City of Bethlehem Zoning Board in the fall of 2013 denying a "use variance" for this property?
You may read her decision here:
Please pay particular attention to the third sentence of the second paragraph on page six, which reads:
"The City of Bethlehem has made the decision to make the neighborhood residential."

I find it disappointing that the Zoning Board has decided that it is in their power to override this community decision (a decision made through many public hearings in remaking our city wide zoning code) to have a residential neighborhood In this RT residential zone, especially with so much vacant commercial space available on both New and Main Streets. The business in question is currently located only two hundred yards away, in the Central Business district. Why the urgent need to displace another residential home with a business, inside a residential zone, only two hundred yards away?

The zoning code is designed to place various land uses in locations agreed upon by the community, and not to allow any use on any property just because some one wants to use it for something not in the code. This is not a money issue, it is not a historic preservation issue (see earlier on page six of Judge Leavitt's decision). It is a land use issue.

Patriot2 said...

3:36--You are right on the money that this variance has already been turned down by the courts in 2013 & it is essentially the exact same request except this time approved by ZHB.
ZHB is scherzo on this & now approving what the courts already turned down. This was a make nice decision by the ZHB who has been courted by the applicant rather than following zoning laws. This will be appealed & tied up in courts for years.

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Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

cut and paste much @ 3:37

Bernie O'Hare said...

I hate when assholes do that.