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November 6, 2002 Meeting Minutes
BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Wednesday, November 6, 2002 - 7:30 PM - Town Hall
PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
President Gregory called the meeting to
order. Ms. Szabo offered the invocation which was followed
by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, John
B. Callahan, James A. Delgrosso, Robert J. Donchez, J. Michael
Schweder, Magdalena F. Szabo, and James S. Gregory, 7.
Public Hearing - Amending Zoning Ordinance Section 1316.02 - Deleting Motor Vehicle Sales and Service Agency in the Light Industrial District
Prior to the consideration of the regular Agenda items, President Gregory called to order a Public Hearing to consider an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance Section 1316.02, Use Regulations, Paragraph (a)(22) to delete Motor Vehicle Sales and Service Agency in the Light Industrial District.
A. Planning Commission - Amending Zoning Ordinance Article 1316.02 - LI District - Deleting Motor Vehicle Sales and Service Agency
The Clerk read a memorandum dated October 24, 2002 from Darlene L. Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning, which stated that at its October 10, 2002 meeting, the Planning Commission voted 3-0 to recommend that the amendment not be adopted.
B. Lehigh Valley Planning Commission - Amending Zoning Ordinance Article 1316.02 - LI District - Deleting Motor Vehicle Sales and Service Agency
The Clerk read a letter dated August 30, 2002 from Frederic H. Brock, Assistant Director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, which stated that the Commission reviewed the amendment at its meeting on August 29, 2002 and considers the amendment to be a matter of local concern and voted to offer no comment.
Planning Director Comments
Darlene Heller, Planning and Zoning Director, affirmed that the recommendation to the Planning Commission was not to approve the Zoning Text Amendment that was proposed by City Council in October 2002. Ms. Heller confirmed that the Planning Commission voted 3 to 0 to recommend to Council that the Zoning Text Amendment not be adopted. Ms. Heller recounted that memorandums dated October 4 and 9, 2002 and a list of existing motor vehicle sales facilities that had been submitted to the Planning Commission were also forwarded to the Members of Council. Ms. Heller explained that one of the reasons for not approving the Amendment was because of the way that the motor vehicle sales and service agency is defined. Ms. Heller continued on to say it does include repair services which is an accessory use but the definition also includes body work, painting, and so on that was felt to be industrial in nature and more appropriate in the Light Industrial zoning district. Ms. Heller informed the assembly that currently the use is permitted by right in Light Industrial and Heavy Industrial zoning districts. It is also permitted in CG, CB, and CS either by special exception or by conditional use, not by right, so it does require additional review either by the Planning Commission or the Zoning Hearing Board. Ms. Heller advised another concern was that, when the twelve existing motor vehicle sales and service agency uses were reviewed, it was found six are currently located in the Light Industrial zoning district. If the Amendment is approved, those six would become non-conforming uses. The four in the General Commercial zone would continue as permitted uses. There are two that are already non-conforming and located in Residential zones. Ms. Heller notified the Members that another concern was compatibility with residential uses. Because the definition includes body work, painting, etc., it is not as compatible with residential uses as if it were just retail sales. Ms. Heller commented that was an additional reason it was felt more appropriate to keep the motor vehicle sales and service agency use in the Light Industrial zoning district.
Mr. Schweder noted that in the October 4, 2002 memorandum from Ms. Heller it was stated there are four motor vehicle sales and service businesses currently located in the Light Industrial zoning district, and tonight it was stated there are six. Ms. Heller explained that the list was amended since that date and there were two uses that had not been included in the October 4 memorandum. Mr. Schweder queried whether the Zoning Text Amendment would only pertain to six businesses in the City. Ms. Heller affirmed it would pertain to six existing businesses. In response to Mr. Schweder, Ms. Heller enumerated the list of businesses, as follows: Bethlehem Auto Sales - 300 block of W. Union Boulevard, SMK Auto Sales and Service - 700 block of E. Ettwein Street, Saco Sales - rear of 432 W. Union Boulevard, Walters Foreign Car Service - 920 Pembroke Road, Bethlehem Suburban Truck Center - 1500 Eaton Avenue, Dick Milham Auto Sales - 460 Union Boulevard. Mr. Schweder commented that two years ago there would have been at least one additional automobile business in Light Industrial which would have been Wilkes Chevrolet. Ms. Heller noted that is correct. Mr. Schweder stated if one looks at that in terms of space it is almost as large or larger than the six businesses that would be impacted by the amendment. Ms. Heller, agreeing that some of the businesses are on very small lots, commented that new automobile dealerships would not locate on lots that size. Mr. Schweder, with reference to Ms. Heller's memorandums and the arguments for not recommending the amendment, said if those were the concerns it really was the Administration and Ms. Heller's department that first decided to do any of this. Mr. Schweder continued on to point out that the Administration initiated taking a large automobile dealership on East Broad Street, although vacant at that time, and asking Council to convert the zoning to CG - General Commercial from LI - Light Industrial. Ms. Heller affirmed it is still a permitted use in the CG zoning district by special exception. Mr. Schweder observed that automobile dealership on East Broad Street would still be okay under special exception. Ms. Heller, denoting that was the subject of a zoning map change, explained that the Bureau looked at that area in terms of the nearby Moravian Village and some other changes, and did not feel that Light Industrial was an appropriate zoning district. Ms. Heller expressed that she views the current proposal differently in that it is a text change rather than looking at a specific location. Mr. Schweder pointed out that the Bureau took an automobile dealership that was located in the LI District and removed it from the LI District. Mr. Schweder advised that a concern raised by a number of automobile dealers to him was the issue of abandonment of use. Mr. Schweder highlighted the fact that, as a result of the removal of the automobile dealership on East Broad Street from the LI District, if a dealership were to be reinstituted on the property they would not be able to do so by right but rather would have to do so by special exception. Ms. Heller communicated that the formerly zoned LI District where the automobile dealership was located on East Broad Street permitted more than motor vehicle sales and service agencies since the LI zoning designation permitted the whole spectrum of uses permitted in the LI zone including manufacturing, etc. Mr. Schweder said if all of these reasons for not doing this are so bad why was it acceptable to make the change that affected the property on East Broad Street. Ms. Heller responded that the concern on East Broad Street was not the fact that another motor vehicle sales agency would locate there. Rather, the concern was that some other use permitted in the LI zone would locate there. Consequently, Ms. Heller expressed that the Bureau approached that differently. Mr. Schweder, with reference to the four auto sales and service businesses listed in General Commercial and two in Residential, commented that all the arguments used before the Planning Commission regarding the hardships on these businesses such as alterations, extensions, restoration, and abandonment of non-conforming uses, currently exist on motor vehicle sales and service agencies in the City. Mr. Schweder pointed out there are businesses in the City now that already have these restrictions. Ms. Heller, noting there are two businesses, said they are permitted in the General Commercial zone as special exceptions but not by right. Mr. Schweder stressed those four auto businesses do not have the same rights currently that someone has in the Light Industrial district. Mr. Schweder thought perhaps what could be done is to pass the Amendment, and then develop uniformity in the Zoning Ordinance so that every automobile dealer is treated the same, their properties are zoned the same, and they have the same opportunities by right. Mr. Schweder suggested that they could be placed in the Commercial district since in his view automobile sales is more of a commercial or retail operation than an industrial operation. Mr. Schweder communicated there should be concern about those individual businesses that now do not have those protections. Mr. Schweder thought that, instead of trying to keep what is non-uniform and discriminatory as far as some automobile dealers in the City, a solution might be to seek uniformity so they are all treated the same. Mr. Schweder, continuing on to observe there are businesses in the same industry under three different zoning categories, pointed out that some do not have the same rights as others. Mr. Schweder noted that some of the automobile businesses currently located in Light Industrial have no physical means to expand their operations. Referring to correspondence from Ms. Heller in which it was mentioned that the Planning Commission will be shortly receiving a proposal from the Planning Bureau that would change the Heavy Industrial zone in the Bethlehem Commerce Center area to IR to accommodate more appropriate uses as the Commerce Center is developed, Mr. Schweder observed that automobile dealerships would no longer be allowed in the Heavy Industrial zoning district. He continued on to point out that, in effect, motor vehicle sales and service agencies would not be permitted on those 1,400 acres of property if it were to be rezoned to IR. Ms. Heller advised she does not think that motor vehicle sales is an appropriate use in the Heavy Industrial zoning district. Ms. Heller explained that the Bureau wants to accommodate Majestic Realty, LVIP and other industrial uses in the Bethlehem Commerce Center, and they are looking for the IR zoning which is felt to be an appropriate zoning for the area. Mr. Schweder, highlighting the fact that motor vehicle sales does not appear on the list of uses that are not permitted in the IR District, thought if it is not on the list then the argument could be that it would be permitted. Noting that retail and service use is permitted in IR, Mr. Schweder thought that an automobile agency should be a permitted use in IR. Mr. Schweder further pointed out that he cannot find a definition of retail and service use in the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Schweder communicated that under the proposal pertaining to deleting motor vehicle sales and service agencies from the LI District there is the opportunity to do something for the automobile agencies in the City; i.e., to provide uniformity so they are all protected by right by either finding a way to zone them as a permitted use either within one of the commercial uses or determine there is a new classification to cover them. Mr. Schweder felt that the City's zoning has become a "hodge podge of fitting things in under special exception, non-conforming uses,…but we've reached the point where this whole thing ought to be addressed, and what I'm suggesting is it ought to be uniform for the people who are in this business."
Tony Hanna, Director of Community and Economic Development, expressing his understanding is that was not the thrust of the amendment proposed by Council, stated if that is being changed and Council wants the Bureau to look at the amendment differently they would be happy to do so. Mr. Hanna commented that the Department would be happy to look at inconsistencies in the Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Schweder recalled that when Council voted to send the proposal to the Planning Commission it was to have consistency.
Mr. Hanna inquired if Mr. Schweder's thought is to have a more consistent definition for auto dealers throughout the zoning code. Mr. Schweder responded in the affirmative. Mr. Hanna communicated that "we certainly wouldn't disagree with you there, but we think that the approach of removing it as a permitted use the way it stands right now in IR is the wrong way to approach it. I think there's a different way to approach it." In response to Mr. Schweder, Mr. Hanna pointed out that many significant changes have been made in the Zoning Ordinance although it has not been comprehensively redone. Mr. Hanna, adding that issues are being addressed as there is the time and staff necessary to deal with them, restated that the Department would be happy to address these issues as well and look at the matter a little differently.
Mr. Callahan commented there has not been any consistency in the reasoning for putting the amendment forward. Mr. Callahan recalled that the original purpose for putting the proposal forward was the fact that there was the change on Broad Street. He continued on to say it was put out to Council that based on Mr. Schweder's review there were no automobile sales and service agencies in LI at that time. Mr. Callahan noted that has been proven not to be the case in that there are six of them. Mr. Callahan stated that developing fairness for other car dealerships that would have to exist under non-conforming uses was never an issue until this evening. Mr. Callahan asked if the four car dealerships in CG and two in Residential are there by choice. Ms. Heller responded she does not know the history of the two in Residential. Mr. Hanna added the four in CG could have been granted their use by special exception. Mr. Callahan remarked it would seem the idea behind taking away the use of automobile sales and service agencies in LI would be that instead of having six businesses in one place by right it would take away that right and make them non-conforming uses to somehow correct the inequities of the other four. Mr. Callahan expressed it does not make sense to him to pluck out uses and create non-conforming uses in an attempt to clean up the zoning. Mr. Callahan, saying he has yet to hear a good reason for the proposal from Council, did not think it was the Administration's responsibility to defend why it should be done. Rather, Mr. Callahan thought that since Council put the proposal forward it was Council's responsibility to defend why it should be done. If the desire is to help people who live next to LI properties and create some safety, Mr. Callahan thought there could be five or six by right uses in LI that could be tackled by Council before denying people the right to have a car dealership. Mr. Callahan pointed out that if the proposed language is removed from LI it in fact affects every owner of property in the LI District and not just the six mentioned. Mr. Callahan, denoting there are many uses throughout the City that are non-conforming, questioned why must car dealerships be tackled all of a sudden.
Mr. Delgrosso noted that if the proposal were to be adopted the six car dealerships would not be eliminated. Mr. Hanna affirmed they would become non-conforming uses. Mr. Delgrosso asked if they could sell their business to another car dealership. Ms. Heller replied yes, and Mr. Hanna added as long as the size stayed the same but if they wanted to expand they would have to go before the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Delgrosso queried if Ms. Heller felt that service agency is the part that puts it in LI. Ms. Heller, indicating in the affirmative, explained that body shops are not defined separately from repair garage, although that probably should be done. Ms. Heller noted that any of the body shop operations that are located in CG or Residential zones would be permitted as a part of motor vehicle sales. Ms. Heller confirmed to Mr. Delgrosso that a lot of the body shops are in LI in addition to car sales. Mr. Delgrosso asked which of the properties where the six automobile agencies are currently located in LI is felt to be a good fit for LI if the property were to be sold for something else that could go into an LI District; e.g., Bethlehem Ford Truck Center on Eaton Avenue. Mr. Hanna, noting that is across the street from an industrial use, said a small manufacturing facility could be put there. Mr. Hanna, acknowledging that some of the properties are small, noted some would not be appropriate industrial uses unless they were aggregated with a larger adjacent tract. Mr. Delgrosso observed that most of the automobile agencies are close to Residential sections. Mr. Delgrosso recalled that he has several pieces of correspondence from past Administrations saying it is time to look at the entire zoning of the City and reevaluate it because the City has grown. Mr. Delgrosso commented that of the six automobile agencies currently located in LI he cannot see one of them where he would like to see an industrial center placed there because they are all near Residential. Mr. Hanna advised one has to look at the context of the neighborhoods they are in. Mr. Hanna, focusing on the rezoning of East Broad Street, explained that the Department recommended a significant change of the zoning map for the entire East Broad Street corridor that happened to include the Wilkes car dealership and other real estate that extended along the street. Mr. Hanna, continuing on to highlight the fact that it was much more than just rezoning the Wilkes tract, said obviously that opened the door to Council's taking a look at automotive uses in the Light Industrial zone. Mr. Delgrosso expressed that when he looks at the six automobile agencies currently located in LI he questions whether the use is a good one and if those areas should still be zoned LI or changed. Mr. Hanna stated that is not what Planning was asked to look at. Mr. Hanna continued on to say in looking at Council's proposal to remove a particular use from the LI zone singularly it is not the right approach. Mr. Delgrosso expressed his agreement with Mr. Schweder that selling a car is not a Light Industrial use while fixing the car or doing body work may be. Ms. Heller, advising that other ordinances were reviewed, commented there is a difference between selling cars and selling refrigerators. Continuing on to say there are different types of commercial zoning districts, Ms. Heller said she does not believe this is the type of retail that would be wanted in every commercial zoning district. Ms. Heller agreed there are other things that need to be done. Mr. Delgrosso read from Section 1323.05 pertaining to restoration and non-conforming uses, and asked the rationale for not allowing the business to be rebuilt if it were destroyed by fire. Ms. Heller, acknowledging that is another section that needs to be looked at, explained that non-conforming uses are looked at in a restrictive way for a reason. Ms. Heller advised "we don't want to proliferate non-conforming uses. We want them to locate in areas where they are permitted. That's why we review their expansion and limit their expansion in the future, and all their expansion goes to the Zoning Hearing Board. And the reason for this provision…was another way to limit non-conforming uses, to eliminate them in areas where they may not be appropriately zoned. The Zoning Ordinance assumes that if it is a non-conforming use obviously it is inappropriately located…I believe it is too restrictive, however, and just this week we were discussing it for some other matter…". Ms. Heller further informed Mr. Delgrosso that mortgage companies ask about such provisions before a mortgage is provided for a home, for example. Ms. Heller remarked it is too prohibitive and needs to be reviewed.
Ms. Szabo, communicating that there are meetings when only three of the five Planning Commission members are in attendance, stated that if there were five members present perhaps the consideration would be different on some of the problems that come before the Planning Commission. Ms. Szabo felt if someone is interested in an appointment to the Commission then that person should fulfill their duties, and continued on to express that something should be done about it.
Mr. Donchez, stating that the whole zoning map should be looked at, commented there are too many ambiguous areas and there needs to be uniformity and consistency. Mr. Donchez expressed what troubles him is that, when things do go to the Zoning Hearing Board, the Board grants too many variances and special exceptions. Mr. Hanna pointed out that, given a city like Bethlehem that is 250 years old, whenever a new zoning district is superimposed on top of pre-existing buildings there will always be non-conformities. Mr. Hanna indicated that some changes will be presented to Council in the near future. Mr. Donchez stressed that special exceptions and variances should be the exception to the rule and not the norm.
Mrs. Belinski, expressing her agreement with Members of Council who addressed the matter, stressed "it's long past time when our Zoning codes should be cleaned up and this is the first step in the right direction…". Mrs. Belinski added that "Light Industrial is manufacturing and car sales is not manufacturing cars, so it doesn't belong there."
President Gregory, indicating it may have been rumored that the thrust of the proposed ordinance change is to prevent an auto auction at the site of the former Durkee's property, said "I think if we're doing that we're making a mistake for a number of reasons." President Gregory queried whether an auto auction would be able to be prevented from locating at the site of the former Durkee's property.
Joseph Leeson, City Solicitor, responded that matter is still under research and he did not come prepared to address the matter this evening.
Christopher Spadoni, City Council Solicitor, suggested that this is a legislative function of Council that needs to be looked at on a city-wide basis, and in the exercise of that discretion it be looked at with that perspective.
Mr. Delgrosso stated at the time the proposed ordinance change was brought before City Council he does not recall anyone saying that the former Durkee's property was going to be used for anything. Mr. Delgrosso recounted that, after the rezoning proposal under which a Lowe's store was planned at the former Durkee's site, there was another buyer, Mr. Petrucci, and he knew of nothing at that time that Mr. Petrucci planned for the site.
President Gregory noted that although officially plans were not known they were rumored. Acknowledging there are some problems with uniformity in the Zoning code that may not have been dealt with over the years, President Gregory commented that the staff is certainly working on that. President Gregory expressed the opinion that the zoning text amendment proposed by Council represents a piece-meal approach and is the wrong way of doing it. President Gregory, with reference to Mr. Callahan's comments, restated that the change will affect anybody who is located in the LI District and they will lose the use. President Gregory, focusing on the Zoning Ordinance provision pertaining to non-conforming uses, highlighted the fact that if a business were to burn down or something happens to a business in LI the owner may not be able to have that business again if the Ordinance were to pass.
Ms. Szabo insisted that the issue of an automobile auction is a rumor and it is unfair to make accusations.
Mr. Callahan clarified that the six car dealerships will be able to continue to exist under the proposal, but said to make the statement that their rights will be preserved is inaccurate. Mr. Callahan stressed it is a fact that those businesses would not have the same rights that they would have if the zoning change were not made. Mr. Hanna added they would not have the same rights as those who are permitted by special exception and would have no right other than to continue as a non-conformity. Mr. Callahan, remarking it seems that everything was talked about tonight other than the issue before Council such as attendance at planning commission meetings, comprehensive need for rezoning, fire that occur at businesses that are non-conforming, asserted "but we've yet to really put forth any argument why we should make this change. And, if the argument is that we want to clean up the ordinance and this is the first step, all we're doing tonight is creating six non-conforming uses which is what we are all saying is the big problem in that we have these too many special exceptions and non-conforming uses, and all we're doing is now creating six more non-conforming uses. So, I would hope that Council would take a very limited role in future planning direction in the City, because if this is the necessary first step that Council thinks we should take, then I think we're going in completely the opposite direction." Mr. Callahan, noting that he attended the Planning Commission meeting, felt if five members had been present then the vote would have been five to zero instead of three to zero.
Tom Hornberger, 4127 N. Church Street, Whitehall, owner of SMK Auto Sales, advised that the following two businesses were missing from the list: East Penn Carriers and Road Motor Cycle Shop. Mr. Hornberger, advising that the business has been operating for about 20 years, indicated he signed on about seven years ago. Mr. Hornberger remarked "for you to change it now is killer on me. The whole reason I chose this property is to do what we do which is body work, disassembling of cars, auto sales. It's basically a one stop shop. To change it would really hurt my business which would in turn make me move out of Bethlehem." Mr. Hornberger highlighted the fact that he has done everything to conform with Bethlehem codes. Mr. Hornberger, informing the Members that he was looking to expand in Bethlehem, said to change the ordinance would lead him not to expand and move. Focusing on Light Industrial being close to Residential, Mr. Hornberger said "you can check with any of my neighbors which there's no problem ever…".
Jeff Salukas, 736 E. Fairview Street, advising he is across the street from SMK Auto Sales, said he has two properties. Mr. Salukas noted that of the four properties in the vicinity more than fifty percent of the time in the last fifteen years there has been some kind of body shop or auto mechanic work done there. Stating that is the only thing it is good for in the area, Mr. Salukas pointed out that the lots are small. Mr. Salukas stressed that if he wants to sell his property it will be devalued as a result of the ordinance change. Mr. Salukas communicated that auto mechanics is an appropriate use in Light Industrial.
Martha Cusimano, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association, advised that the organization represents new car franchise dealers in the Lehigh Valley, the third largest market in Pennsylvania. Ms. Cusimano, informing the assembly in 2001 there were just under 450,000 registered vehicles in Lehigh and Northampton Counties, highlighted the fact that the vehicles have to be purchased, inspected, and serviced which is taken care of by a lot of the new car franchise dealers. Ms. Cusimano, stating that the organization was represented at the Planning Commission meeting, expressed agreement with the recommendation of the Planning Commission that the zoning ordinance text amendment not be approved. Ms. Cusimano stressed that under the proposal the automobile dealers industry is taken out of the list of allowed uses and the rights of the dealers are restrained now and in the future. She continued on to note if a dealer wanted to expand or move into a Light Industrial district "you have automatically taken out one of the cornerstones of our economy." Ms. Cusimano distributed to the members a handout about the industry. Ms. Cusimano asked that Council "please protect the rights of our members, all of whom are very respected people in this community, and as you take on this massive task at another date, if you're looking for people to volunteer to assist you I'm sure that some of our dealers would be willing to step up…and assist you in seeing the general picture as to how they do business…and what their needs are…". Ms. Cusimano asserted that, if the proposal is adopted, the rights of the dealers will be restrained.
Paul Florenz, 65 E. Elizabeth Avenue, advised he is an attorney at the meeting on behalf of Dick Milham, and to speak in opposition to the proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance. Attorney Florenz informed the Members that Mr. Milham owns Milham Used Car Sales on West Union Boulevard which is located in the LI Light Industrial zone. Attorney Florenz stated that lot has existed there in one incarnation or another since 1951, and there has never been a complaint from any of the neighbors or anybody else since that time about the operation of the lot. Noting there are about five to seven other motor vehicle agencies in the LI zone, Attorney Florenz said it is his understanding those facilities have not had any problems either probably largely because residential uses are not allowed in the LI zone and the possibility of conflict is limited by that restriction. Attorney Florenz continued on to comment that the Zoning Officer has represented to him that the problems seen with regard to automotive agencies are from the ones located in the Commercial zone or the Residential zone because of their proximity to residential uses. Attorney Florenz said "it is our opinion, and obviously that of the City Administration, that the LI zone is an appropriate place for motor vehicle sales and service agencies…[P]resently, the only zoning districts in the City in which motor vehicle sales and service agencies are permitted as a matter of right are the LI zone and the HI zone. And, because of the Bethlehem Works and the Commerce Center, and that development that's going on on the former Bethlehem Steel property, the HI zone, or most of the HI zone will disappear. If motor vehicle sales and service agencies are removed from the LI zone, then…the conclusion is that motor vehicle sales and service agencies will be permitted as a matter of right in the City of Bethlehem no where. Can that possibly be the right answer. We submit that it's not. That can't possibly be where we want to end up. If the proposed amendment is enacted the existing motor vehicle sales and service agencies will become non-conforming uses…The use of these properties will be therefore restricted, particularly with regard to alteration and expansion. It is our opinion that as a result of that these properties will be devalued. For no apparent reason, by a stroke of the pen, the City Council of the City of Bethlehem will devalue the properties owned by its citizens in the LI zone and used for automotive purposes. Linda Dietrich, from Imperial Realty Appraisal, who is an expert in valuation of commercial real estate is here on our behalf and she will speak…[in] more detail on the valuation issue. But, I have an example that I think sets forth the problem as we see it. Mr. Milham's lot is on West Union Boulevard…Right behind the lot is his body shop which is presently being used by Faulkner operation. Right behind Mr. Milham's lot is the Staats used car sales. Just to the east of Mr. Milham's lot is Dave and Wayne's car repair facility, and just to the east of that on Union Boulevard is Bethlehem Auto Sales, all in the LI zone. It is not inconceivable, to me at least, that somewhere down the line some larger motor vehicle agency could come in and see that entire property as a good location on which to locate a larger automobile agency. The body shop is there. There's plenty of room for cars. The Dave and Wayne shop could be used for mechanical purposes. Now, if that were to happen tomorrow all of these owners could sell their properties to the proposed larger agency for what would probably be a good price. If this amendment is enacted, that is not possible. It will not be possible for a future user to aggregate those properties into one larger use. And that's not fair. That's not fair to the present owners to devalue their property for what is really no apparent reason. And, it is still not clear to us what the reason behind the proposed amendment is. We have heard it is for the benefit of the dealers. Well, here are the dealers, and they're all against it. So, is it really for the benefit of the dealers. If it has to do with revising or rewriting the entire the zoning code for the City of Bethlehem, I agree with Mr. Callahan, this is the wrong way to approach that project. Why are we doing this. We can speculate…And, if it has something to do with the Durkee's site, then that is not good legislating. And we trust that the Council of the City of Bethlehem will not make such a sweeping change to effect what would really be spot zoning through the back door. We hope you won't do that. If residential use or some other less offensive, whatever that means, use is desired at the Durkee site, then rezone that site. But don't stand the rest of the City on its ear in the process, and disrupting uses that have been in peaceful existence for many, many years."
Linda Dietrich, of Imperial Realty, Postal Road, Allentown, advised that she has been appraising for ten-eleven years, and the strong suit in the realty office is commercial, industrial, and subdivision. Ms. Dietrich, informing the assembly that she has been asked to speak tonight on behalf of the car dealers, said she would like to speak just to valuation of their real estate. Ms. Dietrich explained that, as an appraiser, when one begins to appraise a property the first thing reviewed is highest and best use. She continued on to say "the first step is to look at the legality and the permitted uses within that zone, and from there physical, and then financially, and ending up with maximum productive. In my opinion, the car dealerships are a nice fit in the LI. We think they fit nicely with surrounding uses, and also the other uses that are permitted within that district: office, warehouse, manufacturing, and some light assembly. They all seem to be harmonious neighbor-wise. In the heavy industrial you have more nuisance type uses permitted in there such as junk, scrap yards, some manufacturing…etc. It doesn't seem to work as well in there. If it's eliminated from LI, and included temporarily in HI, it's not permitted anywhere. Then, the dealers would have to, if they were going to make any change to their real estate, either be at the mercy of the zoning hearing board, or they become a non-conforming use, or they have to go to planning. If everything stays status quo, it's fine. But many dealerships have multiple franchises under one roof. And sometimes those franchises will require separate buildings, separate signage. If they need to make a change, they're restricted in doing that. And, any time you make a restriction, it diminishes value because it's taking something away. The other thing is that I wanted to put out to you is that any revision to this, whether it's a relocation or start-up business, if they're not permitted in an LI zoned area,…let's say its vacant land and they're going to start a new dealership. They start in a commercial zone, whether it's a shopping center, or general business commercial, that land is typically far more expensive. And at some point it becomes financially prohibitive to buy land for a new dealership. You can't afford it. So, again, it's a restriction for this use. And, I think it works nicely in the LI. If you take it away, you've taken away some of their limited uses and it restricts their value."
Ron Reybitz, attorney with Fitzpatrick, Lentz, and Bubba, stated they represent J. G. Petrucci, the owner of the Durkee site, which is zoned LI. Attorney Reybitz said "it is our position, in addition to this doesn't make any planning sense, as this Council may or may not know, we have submitted plans for an auto auction which is permitted under current Zoning Ordinance, and will not be permitted under the Ordinance as proposed. We believe there's certainly evidence of special legislation which, not only is not good from a legislative standpoint, it's also illegal. Now, I'm not sitting here and saying this was specifically discussed, but let's face it, everybody knows the Durkee's site. It's been in the news for quite some time. The auto auction was in the paper, and this amendment comes to pass. The bottom line is, as was stated numerous times, the automobile sales people are not in favor of this. This is not a way to start doing amendments. There were a lot of good points made today. I live in Bethlehem, and I know that zoning districts all over the place may or may not make sense. But this isn't the way to do it. And if you look at the circumstantial evidence, you're negatively affecting a bunch of people who have already established rights. But what's the one that's pending. Well, that's our[s]…Are there any other ones pending. Well, no, it's just ours. And, the bottom line is, in addition, you're going to make a decision like this, which is making in some respects a very small change. This isn't an overhaul of an ordinance. This isn't the way you do it. But, it's negatively affecting people. Then it should be proper planning, and there's no proper planning here. And, that's our position. In addition to our position, really, we think it's special legislation. But it is not the way to go about amending an entire ordinance. It's not the way to make people consistent by turning them into non-conforming uses."
Walter Pikarski, of Walter's Foreign Car Center, said he finds the decision arbitrary and capricious…I think it's going to devalue our property. We have there almost two acres at the corner of Pembroke and Stefko which part is, actually the City is using, because the water line is going under there…We put twenty-five years of improvements over there, and I think it's going to devalue our property…We service the local community…We're very happy right there. We try to keep the place clean, and we recycle…we do everything that you ask for. And, suddenly we find ourselves in the position that we're told well we don't want you, get out of here. It really makes us upset. My wife and myself put twenty-five years in that place. We moved here thirty-three years ago to the Lehigh Valley, found this place beautiful, City of Bethlehem impressive, now I feel like they don't want us…It's a feeling [that] it's a betrayal of trust."
John Bleimaier, a customer of Walter's Foreign Car Center, said he used to sit on the national board of directors of a car club. Mr. Bleimaier said the Burn Foundation's Classic Car Show that is presented annually in Bethlehem, along with other tendencies in the larger community, "has resulted in Bethlehem being a kind of a hub of the enthusiast car field, industry…What you're trying to do now is to cut off in the bud a very, very important part of your municipal economy…People come from all over the place with cars that were built in the 50's and the 60's that they'll only trust to [Walter's Foreign Car Center]. He's not the only dealer of that nature in the City, and indeed you should encourage others…When people come here for your classic car show, when people come here to have their classic cars restored, or serviced, they're bringing money into your community. They are also shopping here,…having lunch here…They are making this a better place to live and work. They're building up the value of your ratables. I think it's a very, very, very positive thing. And, from that perspective, I really, really strongly stand behind it. And, to make this change in the Zoning Ordinance is precisely to make this very, very welcome use feel unwelcome…". Mr. Bleimaier expressed that it does not make sense to him to make the six or so dealers a non-conforming use. Mr. Bleimaier, remarking that an automotive use in a residential zone being non-conforming is perfectly logical, stated "you don't want an automotive use in a residential zone to be expanding as a right…But, in a light industrial zone, what could be better…than if these automotive uses do expand in a light industrial zone." Mr. Bleimaier continued on point out that uses which can occur in a light industrial zone can be polluting, and can have negative social and environmental consequences. Mr. Bleimaier insisted that automobile services are the most benign of a light industrial use. Mr. Bleimaier thought that in the final analysis the City would be "buying litigation for the taxpayers" as a result of the change. Mr. Bleimaier expressed the hope that Council will vote against the proposal.
Jim Preston, with the law firm of Broughal and DeVito, 38 W. Market Street, notified the Members that he is at the meeting on behalf of Bethlehem Suburban Ford, located at 1500 Eaton Avenue. Attorney Preston said "I do suspect that this proposed zoning amendment is an attempt to defeat a particular land development at a particular property. Attorney Preston stated he is going to talk about the effect of the amendment on lawfully existing permitted uses. Attorney Preston pointed out that, in particular, his client, Bethlehem Suburban Ford, and all the other auto dealers currently operating as permitted uses in the LI zone will obviously be adversely affected and impacted by this amendment. Attorney Preston highlighted the fact that, if the amendment is adopted, all of the affected businesses will go from being lawfully existing permitted uses to prohibited uses. He added that while they will not have to close their doors, they will be sent into the world of non-conformities. Attorney Preston, remarking that discussions tonight about non-conforming uses is as if they were just another variance of a permitted use, with a little bit of a restriction, said "they're not…The Ordinance Section 1323 speaks to non-conforming uses. The purpose of 1323 'these regulations are designed to restrict further investment in such uses.' And, so how does the ordinance go about restricting that investment. Well we've heard some of that tonight. We've heard some of that from Planning, some of that has been in letters that they've given you. We know that non-conforming uses cannot be altered, reconstructed, extended, or enlarged, except in accordance with certain provisions, and they're listed in the Ordinance. This is a limitation of rights. This is not a continuation of a permitted use. This is an attempt to confine and restrict the use of these properties. As Mr. Delgrosso pointed out earlier, Section 1323.05 which deals with the percentage of destruction and the point at which you can rebuild, he stated that it was too prohibitive. It is too prohibitive. What we're doing is we're taking these permitted uses and we're now consigning them to this set of regulations which by its very admission is designed to restrict further investment in these uses. We have abandonment provisions that apply…I think that to speak of non-conforming uses as just another variant of a permitted use really is being disingenuous, which leads us to the next question, and that is why are these motor vehicle sales being targeted for exclusion from the LI zone…". Attorney Preston, enumerating permitted uses in the LI zone, said if the intent of this particular legislation is to somehow cause the LI zone to be more compatible with the adjoining residential zone then in achieving that goal "we should remove all of the industrial uses from Light Industrial zone. We have many uses here that are much more…intense than the motor vehicle sales…These are really one of the most benign uses in the LI District. I haven't heard anyone articulate any reason why this use has been targeted for elimination. There's been some reference to this being, I suspect, a preamble or a precursor to some ordinance-wide cleansing. If that's the case I think that it's really not a proper first step."
John Lezoche, 1460 Hazlewood Lane, noted that he is the City Zoning Officer. Mr. Lezoche informed Council about some of the disadvantages of car dealers in the CG zone including noise of cars coming and going to the car dealerships, opening and closing of doors. Mr. Lezoche communicated that it is not really a good retail use when one talks about the noise in that CG is normally in close proximity with residential. Mr. Lezoche stated another complaint is deliveries. Mr. Lezoche highlighted the fact that Mr. Milham has been a good neighbor with his business on Broad Street and has cooperated with the office to try to curb deliveries. Noting that is not the case in LI, Mr. Lezoche commented that LI zones are usually larger properties, except for the fringes at residential or some other district where there may be such problems. Mr. Lezoche stated it is difficult for any commercial district to expand, there is not that much property, and the land is expensive. Turning to non-conformities, Mr. Lezoche affirmed there are literally hundreds of non-conformities in the City which is an old city, and he has to deal with the issue all the time. Mr. Lezoche pointed out that it is the intent of the Zoning Ordinance to make a property more conforming, not more non-conforming. Mr. Lezoche expressed it is important to look at the Zoning Ordinance as a whole, as opposed to looking at a small area.
Mrs. Belinski stressed that, before the possibility of an auto auction at the former Durkee's property was mentioned in the newspaper, Council had discussed amending the Ordinance. Mrs. Belinski, expressing her agreement with Ms. Szabo about three members of the Planning Commission being present at the meeting, felt that the Administration should look into the matter of two members being absent at Planning Commission meetings. Mrs. Belinski communicated that the proposal will not harm business, will not put owners out of business, and if the owners want to sell their business for the same use they can. Mrs. Belinski stated that automobile sales and service agencies should never have been in Light Industrial because it is not the manufacturing of cars; rather, it is the selling of cars.
Mr. Callahan said it seems clear to him that if Council moves forward with the proposal it will be dragging the City into litigation. In addition, Mr. Callahan communicated that, after having spoken to a number of attorneys who specialize in development, the pending ordinance statute is not applicable, and "it's pretty much an air tight case against what we're getting ready to do." Whether or not the intention was to block a car dealership at the Durkee's site, Mr. Callahan stated that will be the intended result. Mr. Callahan added that Council has already voted six to one to allow and authorize the City Council Solicitor to defend this move and to try to defend the pending statute. Mr. Callahan observed that, not only did the City lose the tax money from the formerly proposed development of the Durkee property, there will now be good money after bad spent to defend what has been discussed tonight as a very bad policy.
President Gregory stated that the appropriate Ordinance will be placed on the November 19, 2002 City Council Agenda for First Reading; and, if the Ordinance passes on First Reading, Final Reading is anticipated at the December 3, 2002 City Council Meeting.
The Public Hearing was adjourned at 9:10 pm.
4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of October 15, 2002 were approved.
5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on ordinances and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening)
Proposed Sidewalk Ordinances
Tim Nixon, 2273 Linden Street, noted that, in speaking with his neighbors, he has discovered that if the proposed Ordinances related to sidewalk installations are adopted the decision on who will have to or not have to install sidewalks will be in the hands of the Public Works Director. Mr. Nixon said he does not feel this is the proper way for people to have sidewalks. Mr. Nixon expressed that everyone in the neighborhood should have to install sidewalks.
Michelle Leidig, 2263 Linden Street, said that the Ordinances Council seek to pass tonight with regard to installation of sidewalks, curb, and gutters is still seriously lacking in the improvements that it so desperately needs to stop a suit in Northampton County. Ms. Leidig continued on to say "the Ordinance that you seek to pass tonight is more of the same fodder that brought us to this point. It's mostly attacking of neighbors by other neighbors because they don't like the color of your eyes, or the color of the flowers you planted this year. It promotes that type of attack assisted by the Administration of the City of Bethlehem. What I would like to know seriously is why is one citizen worth more than another in the eyes of their own City government. That is what is being promoted by the current Administration by the old Ordinance, and with the new one it even takes out the safeguards for the citizen and is put upon by another citizen or the Administration by removing Council from the loop. Once this Ordinance goes any further in its present form it tells the citizens of the City of Bethlehem that they need to take stock in its current politicians because they're telling their citizens that they may not be as valuable to their government officials as their neighbor is. I don't think this is what our government is trying tell us, but it certainly does seem that way. The current Administration needs to direct its factions to write the Ordinance that is necessary to put an end to this type of subverse use of its ordinances. Make it everyone needs to do this, or nobody needs to do this. Anything less than this type of change is not a fair and equal Ordinance, and is subject to attack in the court system. You cannot tell someone under the same Ordinance that they don't need sidewalk, and then go to somebody else two blocks down the road and say you do. I was told that I needed to get a consulting firm that we went to to give me a written estimate of a price that they told me. Unfortunately, the consulting firm is not who told me what the price was. They told me what needed to be done. I, in turn, told the contractor what needed to be done and they gave me a verbal on that cost. I have contacted that contractor and, due to the day off in hunting season, he hasn't gotten back to me as of yet but I certainly will produce that if it's needed. I don't suppose we can entice the Public Works Department to cough up their plans so we can have our engineers take a look at it. We've asked for information that should have been available to us over a month ago. We still don't have the information. We are being told we have to do what City Administration says we have to do, and yet we don't get the same cooperation from that City government. It's do as I do, not do as I say. I'm still telling you as of right now that this is a terrible financial hardship on me and my family. And, if there's anyone that has any doubt about that, feel free to call me and I promise you I'll explain."
Brian Humphries, 2253 Linden Street, said all he sees is a lot of hostility and a very bad program with the sidewalk Ordinances. Mr. Humphries, stressing there is not any reason why two people should be subjected to hardship, pointed out it has already been a hardship in that the issue has been going on for several years. Mr. Humphries said he does not expect that Council will have to listen to him talk at Council meetings any more because he does not see any reason to go on with the back and forth argument that goes nowhere. Mr. Humphries stated it is apparent that "we would have to fight even to get information out of City Hall because I haven't got very much of what I've requested over the last month and a half. I'm very disturbed about it. I really feel probably more unwelcome in this town than the car dealers at this point. I don't know why this situation should have ever developed. Clearly,…with the Ordinance that is being passed, it isn't the answer to the problem because it's only going to prolong it. Instead of making it better, it's going to make it worse. It probably will result in litigation or some kind of a settlement. But, it isn't good because it isn't fair. There's no question about that. Any of the arguments that have been brought up about safety, just the whole process of getting a petition is just something that leads to conflict, hardship, aggravation…" Mr. Humphries felt that the proposed Ordinances were something made more with a xerox machine than something that was actually written new. Mr. Humphries thought there is no way around a more creative and more complicated solution to the problem of sidewalks. Mr. Humphries remarked that "not having sidewalk is a special privilege…that's been granted to a lot of people over time. It's privilege because it relieves them of an expense. And, unfortunately, maybe it's time that these people have to pay for that special privilege, myself included, because maybe paying for the special privilege would be better than what my mother and I have been subjected to over the past several years. Now, we may have a police officer stationed on the street to take another traffic study, count pedestrians, and see whether maybe we really need to put in a sidewalk. This has gone on for too long. I think that maybe everyone who doesn't have sidewalks should pay a special sidewalk tax. Anyone who does have sidewalk is exempt. The tax could be used to fund a trust fund that would be used to pay for sidewalk in those few cases where it's really needed. Right away that eliminates the financial hardship part of it. Then the only thing left to argue about is safety, aesthetics, and whatever else. There could be a cap on the trust fund, how much money would be accumulated there, and once the cap is reached the collection of the tax which may amount to…ten or twenty dollars added on to the water bill every year, or something like that. I don't think it would be a large amount of money. It would be a very little for people to trade to not have to worry about being subjected to what my mother and I and our neighbors have had over the past several years. And never have to worry about at least the financial impact of this sidewalk, curb and gutter project…The Council would have to adjust the tax rate from time to time, and the collection of it could be paused once the trust fund cap is reached. It would have to be adjusted to match the anticipated need for new sidewalk at whatever that may be, and this trust fund would just simply have to be managed as long as there's any remaining property in Bethlehem that doesn't have sidewalk, and that probably means forever. But, I think that an ongoing management problem like that would be far better than what we have at this point now. That's why I propose what probably should have been proposed a long time ago. But, I don't see any other way to do it. The sidewalk problem has been an infection. I don't think that this ordinance is even a band aid to put on it, and it is not going to be an improvement and make it go away. So, I'm asking …the Council to reject the ordinance so that we can write a good ordinance." Mr. Humphries thought there were people on his block who would have been willing to assist City officials in writing a sidewalk ordinance but it was never verbalized. Mr. Humphries expressed there should be an effort to do something about the ordinance.
Dean Bruch, 625 Hawthorne Road, queried whether the children are walking to the same school past the cemetery that does not have sidewalk. Mr. Alkhal indicated in the affirmative.
President Gregory, noting it would be a new process to determine whether or not there should be sidewalks on Linden Street, stated each individual case will be determined on a number of factors.
6. OLD BUSINESS
C. Planning Director - DCNR Grant Application - Johnston Park
The Clerk read a memorandum dated October 23, 2002 from Darlene Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning, to which was attached a proposed resolution for consideration concerning a grant request in the amount of $125,000 to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for Johnston Park restorations.
President Gregory stated that authorizing Resolution 11 D is listed on the agenda.
D. City Solicitor - Use Permit Agreement - Hot Air Balloon Take Off
The Clerk read a memorandum dated October 24, 2002 from Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed resolution for a Use Permit Agreement between R. Scott Kelley & Has Anyone Seen My Balloon?, Inc. and the City of Bethlehem for use of Yellis Park, Monocacy Park Complex Athletic Fields, Saucon Park Complex Athletic Fields, Clearview Complex, and the area behind the Municipal Ice Rink, for hot air balloon take off for the time period November 1, 2002 to October 31, 2003, according to the terms and conditions of the Agreement.
President Gregory stated that authorizing Resolution 11 G is listed on the agenda.
President Gregory asked the Clerk to read additional Communication 7 E into the record.
E. Authorizing Execution of Federal Aid Reimbursement Agreement - Paint Mill Bridge Project
The Clerk read a memorandum dated November 4, 2002 from Steven W. DeSalva, City Engineer, requesting consideration of a resolution authorizing the Mayor and the Controller to execute Supplemental Federal Aid Reimbursement Agreement No. 050218-B to add funds for 95% reimbursement by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to the City for right-of-way acquisition for the Paint Mill Bridge project.
President Gregory stated he would accept a motion to add the authorizing Resolution later in the Agenda.
8 . REPORTS
A. President of Council
President Gregory, with reference to information received this evening, inquired about the watershed investigation. Mayor Cunningham advised that he planned to address the matter under the Mayor's Report.
Mayor Cunningham stated that the City of Bethlehem Police Department recently concluded the investigation that the Mayor had requested concerning allegations of wrongdoing that may have occurred on Bethlehem watershed lands. The results of the investigation were shared with the Mayor and City Solicitor Joseph Leeson. Mayor Cunningham continued on to say after a review of the investigation by the Police, on the advice of Solicitor Leeson, he has directed that the results of the investigation be transmitted to the District Attorneys of Carbon County and Monroe County which has been done. Mayor Cunningham said the reason for the referral to law enforcement authorities is because the investigation suggests the possibility that criminal conduct might have occurred. Accordingly, this matter has been turned over to the District Attorneys for further handling. Mayor Cunningham advised he has pledged to the District Attorneys' offices through Solicitor Leeson the full cooperation of City government to the District Attorneys in connection with their review and investigation of the matter. Because the matter is now in the hands of law enforcement authorities, Mayor Cunningham suggested that further questions be directed either to the District Attorneys or to the City Solicitor Joseph Leeson.
C. Finance Committee
Mr. Delgrosso, Chairman of the Finance Committee, presented an oral report of the Committee's meeting held on October 31, 2002 on the following subjects: Transfer of Funds - Golf Course - Temporary Help; Transfer of Funds - Economic Development Bureau - Training and Equipment; Amending Water Fund Budget - Water Guarantee Fee. Chairman Delgrosso continued on to report that the Committee also recommended that Council adopt an Ordinance for the Bethlehem Authority's Interest Rate Swap on $6 million of the Emmaus General Authority Note of 1997 provided that at least $600,000 in interest rate savings can be achieved. Focusing on the interest rate swap proposal, Mr. Delgrosso explained the idea is, of the $18 million in the Emmaus General Authority Note of 1997 that is on a flexible interest rate, the Bethlehem Authority proposed to take $6 million and swap it for a fixed rate because of the current low interest rates and the uncertainty of what the interest rates may be in the future. Mr. Delgrosso explained that the benchmark discussed at the meeting was a savings of $600,000. Consequently, at the time of Final Reading, the financial consultants will advise whether the rates are at a position where savings of $600,000 can be realized. If not, the question will be whether the Ordinance should be tabled, or give the right to the Bethlehem Authority to go out for bids when the $600,000 threshold is reached. With reference to the letter received from Peter Carlucci, Bond Counsel, Mr. Delgrosso advised that in the last paragraph Attorney Carlucci stated he will meet with both the City Solicitor and the City Council Solicitor to determine how to accomplish it. Mr. Delgrosso suggested that Council could pass the Ordinance this evening on First Reading, and prior to the next City Council Meeting on November 19, 2002 there will be information from the Solicitors as to which direction to take. In addition, the Committee recommended approval of payment from Council's Professional Services Account for the Timber Sales Report prepared by Robert LaBar.
9. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL PASSAGE
A. Bill No. 35 - 2002 - Establishing New Article 1159 - Animals
The Clerk read Bill No. 35 - 2002, Establishing New Article 1159 - Animals, on Final Reading.
Amendment to Bill No. 35 - 2002
Mr. Schweder, noting that a number of recommendations were received, stated that in discussions with Dr. Lashmet, the veterinarian who assisted with drafting of the Ordinance, he moves the following amendment, and Mr. Delgrosso seconded the motion:
That Section 1159.08 which reads as follows:
1159.08 CERTAIN ANIMALS AND FOWL IN DWELLINGS PROHIBITED.
No pigeons, turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese or other [feathered animals] shall be kept or maintained in any dwelling, apartment, flat or tenement.
shall be amended to read as follows:
1159.08 CERTAIN ANIMALS AND FOWL IN DWELLINGS PROHIBITED.
No pigeons, turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese or other poultry shall be kept or maintained in any dwelling, apartment, flat or tenement.
Voting AYE on the Amendment: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Amendment passed.
Mrs. Belinski stated that she was contacted by a resident who had asked that Council consider several other amendments, one of which was that a dog would be put down if found to have bitten someone at least three times. Attorney Leeson, affirming that State law has legislated on the issue of what is a dangerous dog, advised that provision is made for destruction of such a dog. Consequently, Attorney Leeson suggested that type of provision be avoided in the City's Ordinance.
President Gregory, commenting that although he feels the Ordinance could be stronger, said it is an excellent start. President Gregory asked if the Ordinance will get at the root of the problem such as the snake and dog issues that the City has been dealing with. Tony Hanna, Director of Community and Economic Development, stated it is certainly a better Ordinance than the City had in the past, although there will be enforcement issues with which to deal. Mr. Hanna confirmed that it will give the City a better tool to deal with problems. President Gregory pointed out that the Ordinance could be revisited at another time if there are other issues of concern that are found not to have been addressed by the Ordinance.
Voting AYE on the Bill as amended: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. Bill No. 35 - 2002, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4151, was declared adopted.
B. Bill No. 36 - 2002 - Amending Article 303 - Motor Fuel Meters - Inspection Fee
The Clerk read Bill No. 36 - 2002, Amending Article 303 - Motor Fuel Meters - Inspection Fee, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. Bill No. 36 - 2002, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4152, was declared adopted.
C. Bill No. 37 - 2002 - Amending General Fund Budget - Local Law Enforcement Block Grant, Northampton County Drug Task Force, Highway Safety Grant, Immunization Outreach Grant, and Emergency Preparedness Grant
The Clerk read Bill No. 37 - 2002, Amending General Fund Budget - Local Law Enforcement Block Grant, Northampton County Drug Task Force, Highway Safety Grant, Immunization Outreach Grant, and Emergency Preparedness Grant, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. Bill No. 37 - 2002, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4153, was declared adopted.
D. Bill No. 38 - 2002 - Amending Article 905 - Curb, Gutter, and Sidewalk Requirements - New Developments
The Clerk read Bill No. 38 - 2002, Amending Article 905 - Curb, Gutter, and Sidewalk Requirements - New Developments, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. Bill No. 38 - 2002, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4154, was declared adopted.
E. Bill No. 39 - 2002 - Establishing New Article 909 - Curb, Gutter, and Sidewalk Requirements - New Developments
The Clerk read Bill No. 39 - 2002, Establishing New Article 909 - Curb, Gutter, and Sidewalk Requirements - New Developments, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. Bill No. 39 - 2002, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4155, was declared adopted.
F. Bill No. 40 - 2002 - Amending Article 150 - Codes Board of Appeals
The Clerk read Bill No. 40 - 2002, Amending Article 150 - Codes Board of Appeals, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. Bill No. 40 - 2002, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 4156, was declared adopted.
10. NEW ORDINANCES
A. Bill No. 41 - 2002 - Amending Water Fund Budget - Guarantee Fee
The Clerk read Bill No. 41 - 2002, sponsored by Mr. Donchez and Mr. Delgrosso, and titled:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM, COUNTIES OF LEHIGH
AND NORTHAMPTON, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, AMENDING THE
WATER FUND BUDGET FOR 2002.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. Bill No. 41 - 2002 was declared passed on First Reading.
B. Bill No. 42 - 2002 - Bethlehem Authority - Interest Rate Swap - Emmaus General Authority Note of 1997
The Clerk read Bill No. 42 - 2002, sponsored by Mr. Donchez and Mr. Delgrosso, and titled:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM, NORTHAMPTON AND LEHIGH COUNTIES, PENNSYLVANIA, DETERMINING TO INCUR DEBT IN THE AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $4,131,737 (subject to change); DETERMINING THAT SUCH DEBT SHALL BE INCURRED AS LEASE RENTAL DEBT TO BE EVIDENCED BY CERTAIN PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS OF THE BETHLEHEM AUTHORITY; BRIEFLY DESCRIBING THE PROJECT FOR WHICH SAID DEBT IS TO BE INCURRED AND SPECIFYING THE REALISTIC USEFUL LIFE OF SAID PROJECT; AUTHORIZING AND DIRECTING THE MAYOR, THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL, THE CITY CONTROLLER, THE CITY TREASURER, THE BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR OR THE CITY CLERK OF THE CITY TO PREPARE, VERIFY AND FILE, AS APPLICABLE, THE DEBT STATEMENT AND OTHER APPROPRIATE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED BY THE ACT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, AS AMENDED AND SUPPLEMENTED, KNOWN AS THE "LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT DEBT ACT", 53 PA.C.S.A. §§ 8001 ET SEQ., AND, UPON RECEIPT OF APPROVAL OF THE PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TO EXECUTE, ATTEST, ACKNOWLEDGE AND DELIVER, AS APPROPRIATE, (I) A SUBSIDY AGREEMENT BETWEEN SAID AUTHORITY, ON THE ONE HAND, AND THE CITY, ON THE OTHER HAND, AND (II) A GUARANTY AGREEMENT WITH RESPECT TO AFORESAID SUBSIDY AGREEMENT; APPROVING THE FORMS OF SAID SUBSIDY AGREEMENT AND SAID GUARANTY AGREEMENT; CONSENTING TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF SAID SUBSIDY AGREEMENT BY SAID AUTHORITY AND AUTHORIZING DELIVERY OF SAID GUARANTY AGREEMENT; SPECIFYING THE MAXIMUM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS TO BE PAID BY THE CITY PURSUANT TO SAID SUBSIDY AGREEMENT; GUARANTEEING PAYMENT OF THE SUBSIDY PAYMENTS, AS AFORESAID, AND MAKING CERTAIN COVENANTS WITH RESPECT THERETO; SPECIFYING THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF THE GUARANTY OBLIGATIONS OF THE CITY PURSUANT TO SUCH GUARANTY AGREEMENT; PLEDGING THE FULL FAITH, CREDIT AND TAXING POWER OF THE CITY WITH RESPECT TO THE GUARANTY AGREEMENT; AND PROVIDING FOR PROPER OFFICERS OF THE CITY TO TAKE ALL OTHER REQUIRED, NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE RELATED ACTION IN CONNECTION WITH SAID PROJECT, SAID SUBSIDY AGREEMENT AND SAID GUARANTY AGREEMENT.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. Bill No. 42 - 2002 was declared passed on First Reading.
A. Approving 2003 Action Plan - CDBG and HOME Programs
Mr. Donchez and Ms. Szabo sponsored Resolution 13,939 which approved the Action Plan for 2003, containing the City's 2003 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Programs, and authorized the Mayor to provide the necessary assurances and certifications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and to submit the 2003 Action Plan for HUD approval.
Amendment to Resolution 13,939
Mr. Donchez and Ms. Szabo sponsored the following Amendment:
That Item 1. of the 2003 CDBG Activities which reads as follows:
Vacant Property Review and Economic
be amended to read as follows:
Acquisition/Demolition - Undefined - Five Points $ 50,000
Vacant Property Review 50,000
Unprogrammed Activities 200,000
Voting AYE on the Amendment: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Amendment passed.
Voting AYE on the Resolution, as Amended: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed. B. Authorizing Execution of Use Permit Agreement - Live Bethlehem Christmas Pageant
Mr. Donchez and Ms. Szabo sponsored Resolution 13,940 which authorized the Mayor and the Controller to execute a Use Permit Agreement between the City of Bethlehem and the Live Bethlehem Christmas Pageant Society, Inc. for use of the Community Arts Pavilion and Surrounding Field for the purpose of the 2002 Live Bethlehem Christmas Pageant for time periods beginning December 9, 2002 through January 13, 2003, according to the terms of the Agreement.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed. C. Authorizing Execution of Use Permit Agreement - Christkindlmarkt
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Delgrosso sponsored Resolution 13,941 which authorized the Mayor and the Controller to execute a Use Permit Agreement between the City of Bethlehem and Bethlehem Musikfest Association for use of certain City property for the purpose of location of the market and parking during Christkindlmarkt 2002 for time periods beginning November 11, 2002 through December 27, 2002, according to the terms of the Agreement.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed. D. Authorizing Execution of Grant Documents - Johnston Park
Mr. Delgrosso and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 13,942 which authorized the Mayor to execute the appropriate documents to apply to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for a grant for the Johnston Park Restoration Project.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.
E. Transfer of Funds - Golf Course - Temporary Help
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Delgrosso sponsored Resolution 13,943 which transferred $15,000 in the Golf Course Enterprise Fund Budget from the Salaries and Plant Maintenance Accounts to the Temporary Help Account to provide additional funding needed in the Account.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.
F. Transfer of Funds - Economic Development - Training and Equipment
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Delgrosso sponsored Resolution 13,944 which transferred $2,350 in the General Fund Budget from the Economic Development Salaries Account to the following: $1,500 - Economic Development - Training and Continuing Education Account and $850 - Economic Development - Equipment Account, to provide additional funding needed for attendance at International Economic Development Council courses, and for the purchase of a TV/VCR and display board.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolution passed.
G. Authorizing Execution of Use Permit Agreement - Hot Air Balloon Take Off
Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 13,945 which authorized the Mayor and the Controller to execute a Use Permit Agreement between R. Scott Kelley and Has Anyone Seen My Balloon?, Inc. and the City of Bethlehem for use of Yellis Park, Monocacy Park Complex, Athletic Fields, Saucon Park Complex, Athletic Fields, Clearview Complex, and the area behind the Municipal Ice Rink, for Hot Air Balloon Take Off from November 1, 2002 to October 31, 2003, according to the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Considering Resolutions 11 H through 11 K as a Group
Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Callahan moved to consider Resolutions 11 H through 11 K as a group.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The motion passed.
H. Certificate of Appropriateness - 710 East Fourth Street
Ms. Szabo and Mr. Schweder sponsored Resolution 13,946 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the existing slate roofing materials with fiberglass shingles, and to install vinyl siding on both sides of structure and the upper front façade at 710 East Fourth Street.
I. Certificate of Appropriateness - 702 East Fourth Street
Ms. Szabo and Mr. Schweder sponsored Resolution 13,947 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the existing windows and door of the structure at 702 East Fourth Street.
J. Certificate of Appropriateness - 4 East Fourth Street
Ms. Szabo and Mr. Schweder sponsored Resolution 13,948 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the existing wall signs and the awnings on the façade of the Bridge Works Restaurant at 4 East Fourth Street.
K. Certificate of Appropriateness - 331 South New Street
Ms. Szabo and Mr. Schweder sponsored Resolution 13,949 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the awning sign at 331 South New Street.
Voting AYE on Resolutions 11 H through K: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The Resolutions passed.
Adding Resolution 11 L
Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Szabo moved to add Resolution 11 L to the Agenda.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Delgrosso, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 7. The motion passed.
L. Authorizing Execution of Federal Aid Reimbursement Agreement - Paint Mill Bridge Project
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Delgrosso sponsored Resolution 13,950 which authorized the Mayor and the Controller to execute Supplemental Federal Aid Bridge Project Agreement No. 050218-B between the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the City of Bethlehem, for the Paint Mill (Schoenersville Road) Bridge over the Monocacy Creek Project, according to the terms and conditions of the Agreement.
12. NEW BUSINESS
Agreement with State Game Commission - Watershed Lands
Mrs. Belinski notified the Administration that she received a telephone call on Monday from the State game warden who received complaints from hunters about ATV's that are being driven on the lands, making noise, scaring away game, as well as snowmobiles that are doing damage. Mrs. Belinski inquired about the status of the agreement with the State Game Commission.
Attorney Leeson, advising that the agreement is ready, explained that an outstanding item had been the request of the State game officials that the City develop a set of rules and regulations on what would be prohibited and allowable public usage of the watershed lands. Confirming that Kathleen Reese, Director of Water and Sewer Resources, had been working on the matter, Attorney Leeson related that Ms. Reese assured him that she would address it first thing in the morning in the hope that it can be presented for consideration at City Council's next meeting, and to the Bethlehem Authority for their approval as well. Attorney Leeson expressed the opinion that both Council and the Bethlehem Authority should approve the agreement in view of the fact that the Authority owns the watershed lands and the City leases it. He added in this way, there would be no doubt as to the enforceability of the agreement in the event of challenge by someone who would be prosecuted under it.
Ms. Szabo commended Kevin Moyzan, Fire Commissioner, and Eugene Novak, Fire Marshall, for their actions related to the Flatiron Building, and added it demonstrated the usefulness of the camera to which many citizens had contributed. Ms. Szabo further stated it has been proven the City is right in insisting that buildings should be sprinklered.
13. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR
The meeting was adjourned at 10:01 p.m.