City Council

Council Minutes

July 1, 2003 Meeting Minutes

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Tuesday, July 1, 2003 – 7:30 PM – Town Hall


President Schweder called the meeting to order. Reverend Jack Steltzer, of Rosemont Lutheran Church, offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Ismael Arcelay, Jean Belinski, John B. Callahan, Robert J. Donchez, James S. Gregory, Magdalena F. Szabo, and J. Michael Schweder, 7.

First Public Hearing – Amendments to 2001 and 2003 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Programs

President Schweder called the First Public Hearing to Order to consider amendments to the 2001 and 2003 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Programs to reflect the transfer of funds between existing activities and create a new 2003 activity, as follows: decrease 2001 activity, Fiot Avenue, by $2,104; decrease 2001 activity, East Fifth Street/Phase I, by $17,896; decrease 2003 activity, Street Overlays, by $30,000; increase 2003 activity, East Fifth Street/Phase III, by $30,000; establish a new 2003 activity, Street Landscaping, in the amount of $20,000.

Dana Grubb, Deputy Director of Community Development, highlighted the fact that, under the City's citizen participation process, any time a Community Development Block Grant (CDGG) funded activity is impacted by 25% or more an opportunity must be provided for citizens to comment on the proposed amendments to the City's CDBG plan. Mr. Grubb affirmed that the amendments would effect transfers and creation of a new activity in order to provide sufficient funds to complete several activities. It is proposed to decrease the 2001 activity, Fiot Avenue, by $2,104 which activity has been completed and the funds are available for another use. It is proposed to decrease the 2001 activity, East Fifth Street - Phase I, in the amount of $17,896 which phase was completed about a year ago and the funds are available for another use. It is proposed to decrease the 2003 activity, Street Overlays, in the amount of $30,000, to increase the 2003 activity, East Fifth Street - Phase III, in the amount of $30,000, and to establish a new 2003 activity, Street Landscaping, in the amount of $20,000. Mr. Grubb affirmed that, at the recommendation of the Director of Public Works, the activities were presented previously to the Finance Committee, since $30,000 for the East Fifth Street - Phase III project is necessary in order to complete the final phase of the curb and sidewalk improvements. Street Landscaping, in the amount of $20,000, is necessary not only to complete the installation of street trees on the East Fifth Street project but on other CDBG eligible street projects as well.

No one from the public spoke to the matter of the first Public Hearing.

President Schweder stated that Resolutions 11 A and 11 B are listed on this evening's Agenda.

The first Public Hearing was adjourned at 7:38 p.m.

Second Public Hearing – Establishing RR – Residential District Overlay Zone - Creek Road and Friedensville Road

President Schweder called the Second Public Hearing to Order to consider an Amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to add Section 1304.07 to establish an RR – Residential District Overlay Zone to create an R-R Overlay District consisting of the geographic area in the R-R Residential District in the City of Bethlehem, Ward 16, bounded by Creek Road on the East, Friedensville Road on the South, the R-G Residential District to the West and the property identified as Northampton County Tax Map No. Q7-8-6A to the North, that permits semi-detached dwelling units following review and recommendation by the Planning Commission in accordance with the provisions of Article 1322, subject to the requirements set forth in Section 1304.07.

7 A Planning Commission – R-R Residential District Overlay Zone – Creek Road and Friedensville Road

The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 13, 2003 from Darlene Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning, in which it was advised that at the June 12, 2003 meeting, the Planning Commission reviewed the referenced proposal and voted 3 to 0 to recommend approval of the RR Overlay Zone as proposed.

7 B. Lehigh Valley Planning Commission – R-R Residential District Overlay Zone – Creek Road and Friedensville Road

The Clerk read a letter dated June 27, 2003 from Frederic Brock, Assistant Director, in which it was advised that the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission considered the referenced matter at the June 26, 2003 meeting pursuant to the requirements of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. The Commission found the proposed amendment to be a matter of local concern only and voted to return no comments in their regard.

Planning Director Comments

Darlene Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning, confirmed that different proposals for the rezoning of this property have come before City Council in the past. Ms. Heller affirmed that, under the present proposal, the property would remain zoned RR - Residential but an RR - Residential Overlay zone would be created. Ms. Heller, highlighting the fact that there are other Overlay districts in the City, pointed out that the proposed RR - Residential Overlay zone for the Creek Road and Friedensville Road area would take into consideration some unique circumstances that may exist at the lot in question. Ms. Heller, turning to the draft Ordinance, noted the first paragraph outlines the purpose of the Overlay. Continuing on to point out that the RR Overlay allows development consistent with the parcel's uniqueness, Ms. Heller pointed out that the Overlay provides the opportunity to develop the area so that it conforms to certain unique rural residential characteristics of the Creek Road area, including the lessening of the potential impact on Creek Road, yet at the same time recognizes and allows development consistent with certain higher density characteristics of the area. Ms. Heller noted that the parcel is abutted to the west by a 200 unit garden apartment complex that is fairly new, and to the south located in Lower Saucon Township across from Friedensville Road there are some higher density residential units. Friedensville Road, which is a State road, is fairly high volume in terms of traffic. However, Creek Road is still very rural in its characteristics, although the residents have seen greater volumes of traffic recently as the road is being used increasingly as a bypass. There are noted increases in speed of traffic on the corridor. There have been discussions with both the developer and the area residents about the residents' concerns about the area in general including traffic calming and the historic character of the neighborhood. The RR - Residential District currently allows single family development, with lots at least 15,000 square feet in size. In the RR - Residential Overlay proposal, semi-detached dwellings would be allowed. While the overall gross density will still be 15,000 square feet per unit, the overall lot size is permitted to be 7,500 square feet. The proposal also outlines setbacks and building coverage. The building height would remain the same as it is currently in RR Residential that is two and a half stories and 35 feet. It also includes a provision for a 30 foot buffer yard surrounding the property on each of the four perimeters. Ms. Heller recounted that, in discussions with the neighbors, one of the concerns about this and earlier proposals is the fact that there is a lot of existing natural vegetation along Creek Road that the neighbors would like to see retained. Ms. Heller, advising that the developer is proposing one cut into the property, noted that a 30 ft. buffer would retain the natural vegetation around the property and there would be some additional buffering required as the development is put into place. Ms. Heller, focusing on correspondence received from the neighbors, mentioned that the general concerns seem to be specifically traffic calming and the historic and rural nature of the corridor. Confirming it is believed that the neighbors' concerns are valid, Ms. Heller noted there is a lot of increased traffic on Creek Road and pointed out it is a beautiful, rural corridor that is very unique to the City. Ms. Heller notified the Members that the Department would like to include in this proposal some provisions to retain those characteristics in the corridor. In addition to the traffic calming, Ms. Heller informed the Members that the neighbors are also interested in possibly creating a historic district in the area and the Department has started to take a look at what that might entail such as different types and boundaries of a historic district. Noting that the boundaries probably would extend into the abutting municipality of Lower Saucon Township, Ms. Heller affirmed that a meeting is scheduled tomorrow with some of the neighbors who will conduct a tour and show what the boundaries might be.

Developers Comments

Attorney Ronald Reybitz, representing the developer, Turnbridge Partnership, informed the Members that John Blair of the partnership is present this evening. Attorney Reybitz, acknowledging that City Council is well aware of the property, said he will not reiterate his clients support and arguments as to why the RR Overlay amendment is appropriate for the property. Attorney Reybitz emphasized there were a lot of negotiations with the neighbors and City staff to address their concerns.

John Blair, president of Blair Custom Homes, stated that the company is a residential homebuilder in the Lehigh Valley and does high-end home and renovation projects. Mr. Blair noted he will distribute CD's containing information about the company. Mr. Blair explained that the project involves a $400,000-$600,000 per unit product in the neighborhood that he feels will represent a great entrance into the City of Bethlehem. Confirming that he has spoken with the neighbors, Mr. Blair mentioned that the name of the development may be changed to conform to some of the historic parts of the neighborhood. Noting that the floor plans and elevations are still being developed, Mr. Blair communicated that the development is proposed to have a Bucks County, traditional farm house look. Mr. Blair stated that, as of now, the development would not be a condominium association but rather a homeowners association so that grass cutting, snow plowing, and maintenance of the buildings would be taken care of by one organization. Mr. Blair, affirming that the company would be in favor of keeping the roadway in the historic area, said he would put that in writing to the City and added "we would prefer not to change Creek Road whatsoever." Mr. Blair noted that a buffer would be created in a more natural context around the perimeter so that the development would not look like a modern type setting. Mr. Blair enumerated there would be 13 footprints, 26 units, roughly 3,000 to 3,400 sq. ft. each, with two and a half stories.

Council Comments

President Schweder, asking if the suggested traffic changes will be included in what City Council would be voting on or separate, further noted he would assume that the historic district establishment would follow separate steps and come under review by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Heller, confirming that establishment of a historic district would follow separate steps, explained that the neighbors are looking for some assurance that the City is in support of proceeding to address some of their concerns. Affirming that the City is in support, Ms. Heller continued on to state it is believed there is definitely a historic character to the area that could qualify as a historic district and the City is certainly willing to look into that. Focusing on traffic calming measures, Ms. Heller recalled that the last time a proposal was reviewed for the site speed humps were discussed. Pointing out that the traffic coordinator is looking into that concept, Ms. Heller noted that speed humps are becoming more common. Ms. Heller, continuing on to inform the Members that among other possibilities under review are stop signs, explained the point has not yet been reached where decisions can be made but the Administration is willing to work with the neighbors and the indication is that the developer is willing to do so as well.

Mrs. Belinski commented that the neighbors from Creek Road with whom she has spoken are pleased with the proposed development as long as the developer follows through on his plan. Mrs. Belinski continued on to say that, from past experience, she assured the neighbors the City has no reason to believe the developer will not follow through. Highlighting the fact that the number one priority of the neighbors is calming the traffic, Mrs. Belinski queried whether it can be ensured that the developer will take these measures.

Mr. Blair, indicating he does not expect a lot of traffic, communicated he would not anticipate there would be a lot of children in the development given the potential clients who might purchase units. Mr. Blair, commenting it would really be up to the residents to decide how the rest of Creek Road should be handled, explained the development is at the mouth of Creek Road and he would not expect the development to cause any problems.

Mrs. Belinski inquired how it can be assured that speed bumps will be installed.

Mr. Blair, responding he does not think his organization will be directly responsible, thought it would be the homeowners on Creek Road who would create the historic designation and be directly involved. Mr. Blair, adding the developers would not tell the neighbors where to put speed bumps, observed it would be up to the neighborhood.

Mr. Gregory communicated the idea of making it one way going south from the Lehigh University exit from Stabler Arena so that traffic would not be able to come in from Friedensville Road. Mr. Gregory expressed the hope that possibility would be considered.

Ms. Szabo was informed by Mr. Blair that a semi-detached unit would basically be a twin unit, with a garage coming in from the side and from the front, so that each dwelling would appear as one large, single family home. Mr. Blair confirmed to Ms. Szabo that two and a half stories would be typical. Mr. Blair, in further response to Ms. Szabo, explained he does not think there will be a lot of children primarily because of the price range and the fact that the units are attached, in addition to homeowners association fees for grass cutting, and so on. Mr. Blair commented that the homes may be owned by those who are retired, and may not want the maintenance associated with single homes, and may have a home in another location. Ms. Szabo, advising that she spoke with Mr. Blair's associate a short time ago, said the plans then were different and were similar to a development called Saucon Fields, and asked what made Mr. Blair change his mind to have two and a half story buildings. Mr. Blair responded the plans were never really changed since he and Robert Kiel talked about purchasing the property, and the conceptual idea was always the same. Continuing on to say there was a discussion about fee simple, Mr. Blair noted the original layout did not have actual property lines on it but it indicated 13 footprints with 26 units. Mr. Blair added there is another development proposed nearby in Lower Saucon Township with triple units. Ms. Szabo, while stating this was not the plan that was presented to her and acknowledging that developers have the right to change their plans, wondered if this is the plan that is going to be held to.

Attorney Reybitz informed Ms. Szabo that since he has been involved in the project there was a plan shown with this being owned in common ownership, there was going to be condominiums, and there was a change from that to the fee simple ownership that is proposed. In terms of how things can be changed, Attorney Reybitz pointed out that the ordinance is very limiting in terms of number of units. Attorney Reybitz exemplified that, if Turnbridge Partnership were to disappear for whatever reason, no more units than 26 could be built in view of the way the ordinance is written. Attorney Reybitz continued on to say the configuration would not change very much "because they used every inch to get the square footage under the ordinance". In terms of changing the ultimate layout, Attorney Reybitz noted that, as Mr. Blair said, the plans for the actual buildings have not been totally decided, and what is seen on the plan really cannot change since it is very limited by the way the ordinance is written.

President Schweder added it is apparent to most people who come before City Council with zoning changes over the years that Member of Council are strict with respect to what is acceptable and would continue to do so in working with this project as well.

Mr. Donchez was informed by Mr. Blair that the entranceway will be on Creek Road. In response to Mr. Donchez's observation that based on the plan there will be very little disturbance to the trees or shrubbery on Creek Road Mr. Blair said "exactly. We're going to have one entrance, yes." Mr. Donchez inquired where the 30 foot buffer will be located. Mr. Blair, noting that his engineer is not present at the meeting this evening, expressed the belief that it would be on all four sides. Attorney Reybitz affirmed that the buffer extends throughout the entire perimeter of the property with the focus of being on Creek Road. Turning to the issues of drainage and water runoff that have been raised in the past, Mr. Donchez asked if that has been addressed. Attorney Reybitz responded "this plan has not been fully engineered. Obviously,…the State requirements have to be met during land development if the rezoning occurs…There are some more stringent requirements in place, but under Pennsylvania law we would have to meet those ordinance requirements. But there has not been any engineering done at this time." Mr. Donchez, expressing his commendations on the proposal, recounted there have been several proposals for the property before City Council over the last few years. Mr. Donchez said he thinks this is the best project he has seen for the acreage. Remarking "we all know it's going to be developed", Mr. Donchez expressed that, in his opinion, "this is certainly a first class project." Mr. Donchez, continuing on to note the developers have reached out and talked to the neighbors, thought that has been a plus. Mr. Donchez added that the quality of the homes will add to the City's tax dollars. In addition, Mr. Donchez expressed the hope that traffic which has always been an issue can be addressed. Reiterating that he thinks the development will be a tremendous asset to the City, and commenting that he intends to support it, Mr. Donchez restated his hope that traffic can be addressed, and the historical designation can proceed with the neighbors' input.

Mr. Callahan inquired about proposals to do any improvements on Creek Road from the entranceway to the project and Friedensville Road. Attorney Reybitz replied "no, that…was a specific request to keep that buffer." Turning to Mr. Callahan's question about the road itself, Attorney Reybitz responded if road improvements are necessary or might be helpful he is sure the developers would not have a problem working with that during land development. Attorney Reybitz affirmed that the key was not to widen the road. Mr. Callahan asked if a traffic study has been conducted for this project. Attorney Reybitz, replying not at this time, said "we'll have to do that during land development; and, as Mr. Blair indicated, certainly at that point…we'd be working with the City staff to try to solve any traffic issues." Attorney Reybitz, while restating the proposal is for 26 units, pointed out what is allowed there now is 15 and significantly less when compared with what would be allowed under a higher density such as RS or RG. He added that, under a higher density type development, there would be two entrances at least on Creek Road and a lot of buffering would be lost.

Mayor Delgrosso, noting the Administration is in favor of the proposed project, commented that, as he has said as a Member of Council, patience sometimes can bring a better project, and pointed out that the former proposal was for three story apartments. Mayor Delgrosso added it is a better project for the neighbors. Focusing on traffic calming, Mayor Delgrosso stated "we will work on that…we do not want to widen that road, we certainly want to keep this the way it is. We want to look for a historical view. But when it comes time, I don't want people out there to think that speed bumps are the answer. Because, I will assure you, if you put speed bumps there, every residential area within the City of Bethlehem will be wanting speed bumps tomorrow…But, there are ways to calm traffic without speed bumps sometimes. I think the nature of the road the way it is being bumpy…, with the construction of the road, is a way to even calm traffic. It's when you smooth the road out and widen it that you increase the traffic speed." Communicating that he thinks it is a great project, and a high end project that will introduce more taxes, Mayor Delgrosso reiterated that the Administration is in favor of the project.

Public Comments

Joris Rosse, 1966 Creek Road, said he agrees in general that this is a better proposal than any seen for this particular site. Mr. Rosse, remarking that the area is being called a rural residential zone, said when he sees the proposed project he does not think rural and added it does not fit into his image of fields, streams, and trees. Stating "we're concerned about pretty much every aspect here", Mr. Rosse said he would take them one at a time. Focusing on the drainage situation, Mr. Rosse noted the plans show a retention pond on the top right hand corner. Wondering how it would be drained, Mr. Rosse questioned would it go across the road into the raceway. Mr. Rosse advised the raceway is part of the historic flavor of the area because across from the retention pond are surprisingly complete ruins of a former mill where the current would go underneath the wheel instead of over the top. Mr. Rosse stated the owner who lives on the lower right hand corner of the property would be very interested in having the foundation stabilized and possibly renovated. Mr. Rosse stressed "we are very concerned that the drainage not ruin something that is there"… such as knock straight through the existing foundations because they are right across the street. Mr. Rosse, while acknowledging some of the problems will come up during site plan consideration, asserted that "the earlier on we can see these problems coming on the more likely we're going to be able to find something that works with the least damage." Mr. Rosse pointed out that "one of the traffic calming methods that was not mentioned so far that…we're looking into whether it might be possible is to close a section of the south portion of Williams Street…". Mr. Rosse communicated that when Lehigh University built the new College Drive they made a small section of Williams Street no longer necessary. Mr. Rosse, explaining the reason he would like to see a section closed is because it is extremely hazardous, advised there is very poor visibility going across some sharp turns on a small back road and there are frequent accidents. Mr. Rosse informed the assembly "we're writing a letter to Lehigh University which is owner of the land adjacent to this little section that we'd like to see closed, and we hope the City will support this…". Mr. Rosse mentioned that right of ways would be retained for utilities and said the small piece of road would become a private road for Lehigh University, and an entrance to a house located there. Mr. Rosse commented that speed bumps or humps "are controversial with our group", and added that a one way is also controversial with the neighbors. Mr. Rosse stated that the neighbors support stop signs, the road closing, and historic markers. Mr. Rosse expressed that neighbors are also interested in the concept of a scenic byway for the road because it is used extensively for recreational purposes; e.g., walking, running, bicycle riding, nature observing.

Jim Brown, 1613 Creek Road, said Creek Road and the immediate area is an historic, rural, and environmentally diverse area, where three communities come together, and has been that way for decades. Mr. Brown observed "we are only now going through the formal process of recognizing that fact to prevent sprawl." Mr. Brown, highlighting the fact that for a dozen or so years he and his neighbors have fought to preserve the area, said he is glad to see everybody is in agreement that it is a precious part of Bethlehem. Mr. Brown expressed his concern about the proposed RR Overlay "is what protection do we have that five years, seven years, ten years down the road, there won't be another application for another overlay on Creek Road. That I haven't heard answered in tonight's discussion. It might come back to haunt us. And should you approve this overlay, I would like some questions about the protection that we as residents would have that this might not occur one more time, or twice…We have been told that the only protection is an…historical ordinance, and that would have to be approved by the Mayor and by the Council, and we're willing to do that. We're willing to work with you in doing the paperwork, and doing the legwork…As for the…history of Creek Road, I'll be glad to entertain any questions that you have at this point."

Robert Cauffiel Lovingood, noted he lives in the City in the RR District, and is secretary of the Macada Association. Mr. Lovingood, expressing his support for single family homes, stressed "we want stable neighborhoods". Observing that Bethlehem is running out of space for single family homes, Mr. Lovingood continued on to note that many people commute from Bethlehem to jobs outside of the area. Mr. Lovingood, communicating that making one exception could mean there may be more requests to follow, pointed out there is some open land near the Camel's Hump area of the City, and it would be difficult to say zoning could be changed in one place and not another. Mr. Lovingood added there are areas along the Monocacy Creek that residents would like to preserve, and keep the nature and character of the community. Mr. Lovingood asserted "we need to bring people to [Bethlehem] that can make a difference in this community", and reiterated that one of the major factors is to keep stable neighborhoods.

Shelagh Maloney, 1918 Creek Road, stated she was born and raised in Bethlehem. Ms. Maloney thanked Darlene Heller and Tony Hanna for their apparent willingness to assist the neighbors and work with them. Ms. Maloney, commenting "this project as proposed promises to be a good one for the City and the area residents", continued on to thank Members of Council "who wisely voted down previous proposals that were inappropriate for this historic, pastoral pocket of Bethlehem." Advising "while we as local residents are not opposed to this project per se", Ms. Maloney said "we would like to remind you that it will more than double the current number of homes on Creek Road. For this reason, we'd like you to give careful consideration…to two crucial issues: history and safety…[T]he Creek Road corridor homes [offer] measurable historic value to the City of Bethlehem and adjacent townships. Most of you have shown some recognition of this in the past, and we ask you to help us to preserve this history for the future in some manner. Second, it is imperative that something be done regarding the traffic problems on Creek Road. It is being used as a high speed bypass…by those heading both north and south, and the posted speed limit of 25 mph…goes unenforced. Regardless of this development, the volume and speed of the traffic is only worsening and needs to be dealt with, perhaps within the framework of the proposed overlay. We feel that if you're making exceptions for this developer you should make some exceptions on our behalf as well in that manner. We've discussed some options…for traffic calming measures with the planning department, and now we have a cooperative developer who has professed the same concerns for his potential residents. When the time is right to deal with this, before you have to listen to at least 26 new residents of Bethlehem who will probably have the same issues that we do regarding personal safety and neighborhood preservation…". Ms. Maloney, asking Council to please think carefully about how to address these important issues, stressed "we can't allow an overlay in a rural district without dealing responsibly with the local infrastructure…Please value this part of your City as much as we do, and act accordingly."

President Schweder stated that the appropriate Ordinance will be listed on the July 15, 2003 Agenda for First Reading.

The second Public Hearing was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.


The minutes of June 17, 2003 were approved.

5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on ordinances and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening)



Water Loss

Mr. Donchez requested that the Administration provide to City Council, prior to the Public Works Committee meeting on July 15, 2003, a history, in bullet form, on what has taken place on the issue of loss of water since 2000 when he was President of Council to the present time.


Mr. Donchez, commending the Administration on the progress made so far regarding garbage can placement and pickup, said there is still a way to go. Mr. Donchez observed that when the City's inspectors are out enforcing the laws it takes them away from other responsibilities. Mr. Donchez inquired whether the two haulers ever returned the City's telephone calls.

Mayor Delgrosso noted that he has seen an improvement in areas where he has formerly seen trash cans being placed on the curb.

Dana Grubb, Deputy Director of Community Development, informed Mr. Donchez that the telephone calls were returned, the haulers in question have indicated a willingness to cooperate and not try to adversely influence the customer base, and follow the Ordinance the way it is written.

Mr. Donchez inquired if Mr. Grubb is pleased with the situation today compared with four weeks ago.

Mr. Grubb, responding "we're making progress", continued on to say the Department will continue to target different sections of the community and reinforce the laws. Further, Mr. Grubb advised that a mailer is planned with the four water and sewer billing cycles of July through September. Explaining it is an education process for the haulers and the citizens, Mr. Grubb thought a lot of them honestly did not realize the restrictions and obligations under the City's Ordinances. Mr. Grubb noted that, when everything is explained to them, they understand what the City is trying to accomplish. Expressing that inroads are being made, Mr. Grubb communicated he also thinks more needs to be done.

Mr. Donchez stressed that, following notification in the water and sewer bills, "there has to be a benchmark point". Mr. Donchez continued on to say once all citizens are notified of the Ordinance requirements that trash cans cannot be placed at the curb there eventually needs to be a date established to cite and then fine haulers.

Mr. Grubb explained the staff has indicated to residents and haulers that right now the City "is taking the soft approach" and trying its best to educate and inform them, but at some point a much more proactive approach will need to be taken, and citations will be issued. Noting that the issue is getting press, and over 300 letters have been sent to individuals, Mr. Grubb, pointed out the information is being received either directly from the City or by word of mouth. Mr. Grubb stated it is felt the final effort of getting a letter out with the upcoming water and sewer bills to every property owner in the City must be made so that residents can read what their requirements are under the City's Ordinances. After that, Mr. Grubb agreed that a date must be chosen for enforcement.

Ms. Szabo thought that the City must contact landlords, too, since each tenant in an apartment house may not be notified of the rules, especially if the landlord neglects to tell them. Ms. Szabo exemplified that tenants coming to Bethlehem from Allentown think that garbage is picked up twice a week at the curb.

Mr. Grubb stated Ms. Szabo is correct in that it is the landlord's responsibility to make arrangements for solid waste collection, and people moving into Bethlehem are not aware of their responsibilities versus the landlord's responsibilities. Mr. Grubb remarked it has been an enforcement issue for as along as he has been involved with it. Mr. Grubb pointed out that tenants can also be held responsible if the landlord provides the receptacle and trash collection but the tenants are not following through in an appropriate way.

Ms. Szabo, insisting that tenants must be advised of what the rules are, observed unless the rules are put in writing and a notice placed in the apartment she does not know how else they can be told. Ms. Szabo advised she has asked some people who have told her that they were not notified.

Mayor Delgrosso acknowledged that the educational process can be difficult, and the City is trying to work its way through the task.

Ms. Szabo recounted that in the past, through the cooperation of the South Side Task Force and Lehigh University, every apartment had to receive a booklet so that each tenant moving in knew the rules regarding recycling, waste pickup, and so on. Ms. Szabo questioned why landlords cannot provide the same information for every tenant moving into an apartment building.

Mr. Grubb, while commenting that type of information could attempt to be provided, noted the City is not always made aware every time a tenant changes in a rental property. Mr. Grubb continued on to point out there is a cost associated with it in terms of time and publication. Mr. Grubb, while expressing he is unsure whether the City has the resources, agreed to look into the matter.

Ms. Szabo, while acknowledging that Lehigh University also said initially it would be too costly, stated "it certainly paid off and made a great big difference." She added that it should be bilingual.


C. Police Commissioner – Special Condition – Parking During Musikfest 2003

The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 13, 2003 from Francis Donchez, Police Commissioner, requesting that a Resolution be adopted declaring a Special Condition covering increased parking fines during Musikfest 2003 from August 1 through 10, 2003.

President Schweder stated that authorizing Resolution 11 C is listed on the Agenda

D. Bethlehem Authority – Sale of Land by Bethlehem Authority – Penn Forest Township – Mt. Pocahontas

The Clerk read a letter dated June 25, 2003 from Stephen Salvesen, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Authority, in which it was advised that, as a result of a survey conducted in 2002 by the City, the surveyor recorded several encroachments on Bethlehem Authority land. One of the persons encroaching was contacted and directed to remove the encroachment or face possible legal action. The person encroaching asked to purchase the land, and an appraisal was conducted. On May 8, 2003 the Bethlehem Authority Board approved the settlement by which the Bethlehem Authority would receive $500, and with which the Director of Water and Sewer Resources and the Water Supply and Treatment Superintendent concur. The land is not in a sensitive area of the watershed, and removing the encroachment will reduce the Authority's and City's overall liability. The Bethlehem Authority Board requested City Council's approval of the transaction.

President Schweder referred the request to the Public Works Committee.

E. City Solicitor – Use Permit Agreement for Public Property – Bethlehem Area Chamber of Commerce – 2003 Annual Golf Outing and Walla Gazoo Picnic

The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 26, 2003 from Joseph Leeson, Jr., City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed Use Permit Agreement for Public Property between the City and the Bethlehem Area Chamber of Commerce for its 2003 Annual Golf Outing and Walla Gazoo Picnic.

President Schweder stated that the authorizing Resolution will be placed on the July 15 Agenda.

F. City Solicitor – Amendment No. 1 to Use Permit Agreement for Public Property – Celtic Fest, Inc. – 2003 Celtic Classic

The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 26, 2003 from Joseph Leeson, Jr., City Solicitor, to which was attached Amendment No. 1 to Use Permit Agreement for Public Property between the City and Celtic Fest, Inc. for the 2003 Celtic Classic.

President Schweder stated that the authorizing Resolution will be placed on the July 15 Agenda.

G. City Solicitor – Use Permit Agreement for Public Property – Senior Centers of Bethlehem – Parking Cars During Celtic Classic 2003

The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 26, 2003 from Joseph Leeson, Jr., City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed Use Permit Agreement for Public Property between the City and Senior Centers of Bethlehem for parking cars during the 2003 Celtic Classic.

President Schweder stated that the authorizing Resolution will be placed on the July 15 Agenda.

H. City Solicitor – Use Permit Agreement for Public Property – Senior Centers of Bethlehem – Parking Cars During Musikfest 2003

The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 26, 2003 from Joseph Leeson, Jr., City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed Use Permit Agreement for Public Property between the City and Senior Centers of Bethlehem for parking cars during the 2003 Musikfest.

President Schweder stated that the authorizing Resolution will be placed on the July 15 Agenda.


A. President of Council


B. Mayor


C. Community Development Committee

Ms. Szabo, Chairwoman of the Community Development Committee, presented an oral report of the Committee’s meeting held at 6:00 p.m. prior to the City Council Meeting this evening on the following subjects: Amending Article 1733 – Car Repairs at Residences, Amending Article 149 – Vacant Property Review Committee, and Amending Article 150 – Codes Board of Appeals.




A. Bill No. 28 – 2003 – Rezoning Cherry Lane and Easton Road – HI to RM Overlay and CG

The Clerk read Bill No. 28 – 2003, sponsored by Mr. Gregory and Mr. Callahan, and titled:


In response to Mr. Gregory, the Clerk confirmed that Lower Saucon Township and Hellertown officials were notified of the City Council Meeting. Mr. Gregory communicated his assumption would be that they worked out an agreement or are relatively pleased with the development.

Ms. Heller, while informing Mr. Gregory that she cannot speak for them, advised that the City has been working with them, they are well aware of the proposal, and they were at the Planning Commission meetings. Ms. Heller expressed she thinks they realize this is an ongoing process. Ms. Heller continued on to point out that when land development proposals are reviewed there will be a close look at storm water and traffic concerns in more detail. Ms. Heller affirmed that the City will continue to work with Lower Saucon Township and Hellertown officials as the process moves forward.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Gregory, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 28 – 2003 was declared passed on First Reading.

B. Bill No. 29 – 2003 - Establishing Streets on City Map

The Clerk read Bill No. 29 – 2003, sponsored by Mr. Gregory and Mr. Arcelay, and titled:


Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Gregory, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 29 – 2003 was declared passed on First Reading.


A. Transfer of Funds – Community Development Budget – East Fifth Street – Phase III

Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Callahan sponsored Resolution 14,110 that transferred $30,000 in the Community Development Budget from Account 009-90603, Street Overlays, to Account 009-90503, East Fifth Street – Phase III, to provide sufficient funds for the East Fifth Street curb and sidewalk improvements project.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Gregory, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.

B. Transfer of Funds – Community Development Budget – Street Landscaping

Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Callahan sponsored Resolution 14,111 that transferred $20,000 in the Community Development Budget, as follows: $2,104 from Account 909-90501, Fiot Avenue, and $17,896 from Account 009-90601, East Fifth Street – Phase I, to new Account 009-92603, Street Landscaping, to provide funds for tree planting projects by the Public Works Department.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Gregory, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.

C. Declaring Special Condition – Parking Fines – Musikfest 2003

Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 14,112 by which a Special Condition was declared during Musikfest 2003 for the period from 12:00 Noon, Friday, August 1, 2003 through 12:00 Midnight at the end of Sunday, August 10, 2003, providing that under the provisions of Article 531.99(c), the area to be affected by the Resolution shall be the area within the outline of the diagram marked Exhibit A, and providing that the parking fines be increased for the various listed violations.

Mr. Gregory confirmed that he has voted against the increased parking fines during Musikfest since he has been on Council. While expressing he understands the reasoning for it, Mr. Gregory stated what happens a lot of times is that some visitors to the festival park in City neighborhoods resulting in residents being unable to find parking and sometimes ending up receiving the excessive fines. Mr. Gregory stated that is why he has and will continue to oppose it tonight.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 6. Voting NAY: Mr. Gregory, 1. The Resolution passed.

Motion - Considering Resolutions 11 D through 11 F as a Group

Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski moved to consider Resolutions 11 D through 11 F as a group.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Gregory, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.

D. Certificate of Appropriateness – 218 West Third Street

Ms. Szabo and Mr. Arcelay sponsored Resolution 14,113 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install glass in panels at 218 W. Third Street.

E. Certificate of Appropriateness – 821-829 East Fourth Street

Ms. Szabo and Mr. Arcelay sponsored Resolution 14,114 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish a rear addition and sub-grade garage and alter the exterior of 821-829 E. Fourth Street.

F. Certificate of Appropriateness –25 East Third Street

Ms. Szabo and Mr. Arcelay sponsored Resolution 14,115 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install a sign at 25 East Third Street.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Gregory, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolutions passed.


Rescheduling First City Council Meeting in August

President Schweder stated that, as Council is aware, the August 5 City Council Meeting will need to be rescheduled due to Musikfest occurring that week, followed by the next regularly scheduled Council Meeting on August 19. President Schweder pointed out that, since there are five Tuesdays in July, rescheduling the first City Council Meeting further into August would result in four intervening weeks without a City Council Meeting. Consequently, President Schweder said he would accept a motion to reschedule the August 5 Meeting on July 29 to provide the usual weekly interval between Council Meeting dates, instead of holding the Council Meetings on August 12 and August 19.

Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Gregory moved to reschedule the August 5 City Council Meeting on July 29.

In response to Mr. Donchez, President Schweder confirmed that Council would meet on July 29 and then August 19. Mr. Donchez, noting that Final Reading of the Ordinance to establish the RR Residential Overlay District Zone at Creek and Friedensville Roads would take place at the rescheduled July 29 City Council Meeting, highlighted the fact that several Members of Council have scheduled vacations in late July and early August and queried whether Final Reading could take place on August 19. President Schweder informed Mr. Donchez that is the next motion he has planned to accept.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Gregory, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.

Rescheduling Final Enactment - Establishing RR Residential Overlay District Zone - Creek and Friedensville Roads

President Schweder stated he will now accept a motion to reschedule Final Reading of the Ordinance to establish the RR Residential Overlay District Zone at Creek and Friedensville Roads on August 19.

Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski moved to reschedule Final Reading of the Ordinance on August 19.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Gregory, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.

Board of Health Meeting - May 23, 2003

Mrs. Belinski, noting that in the minutes of the Board of Health Meeting of May 23, 2003 a food borne illness that occurred at B. Braun company was mentioned, inquired what is an echo virus.

Mr. Grubb explained that some of the food products were prepared on site and may have been contaminated either at the source or during the food preparation process. Mr. Hanna thought it may have been a typographical error and could be e-coli.

Receiving of Information from Administration by City Council Members

President Schweder, stating it has been brought to his attention by a number of his Council colleagues and speaking for himself as well, advised there have been several instances over the last few months where it has been somewhat difficult for Members of Council to receive information to which he thought they were entitled from certain individuals in the Administration. President Schweder continued on to explain there has been an inability or a directive perhaps to individuals who are not necessarily permitted to speak to Members of City Council unless their supervisor is present. President Schweder, communicating he finds that very disturbing, recalled that he and Mayor Delgrosso when the Mayor was a Member of Council had discussed the accessibility of Members of Council to receive information and be able to speak to whoever they feel would be the appropriate person. President Schweder continued on to say those persons should be able to speak freely and without fear of retribution for doing so. President Schweder inquired whether Mayor Delgrosso has a policy with respect to the matter.

Mayor Delgrosso, stating he has no policy such as that, noted his door is probably the most open in City Hall to public officials and to citizens. Mayor Delgrosso affirmed they have the right to speak to any individuals from any Department any time they wish without retribution to anybody. Mayor Delgrosso said if he knew that was happening he would take disciplinary action. Mayor Delgrosso added he has made it clear to the staff that there is an open policy and their doors should be open to anyone. Mayor Delgrosso commented he would discuss the matter with whomever it is if that is taking place.

President Schweder, expressing his appreciation for the Mayor's statements, commented he is sure the matter will go forward properly.


Water Loss

William Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, commented that, in the articles about the loss of water, he has not noticed mention of checking the estimate of the water going into the system. With reference to the phase one executive summary provided by the consultants, Mr. Scheirer said it looks as if they might be skimming the surface of the problem. Mr. Scheirer, expressing he is troubled by the consultants not being quite sure whether there are four or five master venturi meters, added that lack of attention to detail is troubling and he would hope the rest of the analysis is better. Referring to the testing of the meter at Howertown east by the consultants who said it was within 2% of what it was supposed to be, Mr. Scheirer noted that since 80% of the water in the system flows through there the consultants concluded the system was okay as far as measuring the water going into the system. Mr. Scheirer observed if they are off by 50%, for example, that would be 10 percentage points compared to the 28 percentage points they are saying is unaccounted for. Mr. Scheirer, with reference to two tests done at the Water Filtration Plant, said the tests showed that the flow averaged 17% less than what it was supposed to have been. Mr. Scheirer, remarking if that is true system wide then over half of the so-called water loss has already been explained, said then it is a measurement rather than a leakage problem. Mr. Scheirer questioned the term historical flow balance used in the executive summary. Mr. Scheirer explained that, as a consultant, defining the problem accurately is half of the solution.

741 Hayes Street - Condition

Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, recalling that he sent a letter to the Vacant Property Review Committee in 2000 concerning 741 Hayes Street, noted that since nothing had happened he brought the matter before City Council in 2001 and submitted a picture of the property. Mr. Antalics recounted that Mr. Hanna visited the property and agreed it was in bad shape. Mr. Antalics informed the assembly that, in 2003, "the problem essentially is the same with a band aid correction". Mr. Antalics, advising that he sees the property every morning, asked Mr. Hanna to look again at 741 Hayes Street.

Mr. Hanna responded that he will ask Mr. Grubb and Mr. Palos, Chief Housing Inspector, to look at the property.

Mr. Antalics, advising there is a history that aggravates the problem, recited the history surrounding the property beginning with notification to the Vacant Property Review Committee in 1994, report in 1995 that 741 Hayes Street was in the worst condition of four area properties, final condemnation October 9, 1995, and last citation issued May 16, 2001. Stressing that no one was ever fined, Mr. Antalics remarked that the City could have made a lot of money. Mr. Antalics, questioning how the problem can be resolved, highlighted the fact that the property has been derelict for ten years and is the first thing one sees coming down South Mountain Drive.

Mayor Delgrosso indicated that a report will be made.

Water Loss

Charles Nyul, 1966 Pinehurst Road, referring to the meeting at the UGI building on the Penn Forest Dam replacement project, recounted that slides of the earth underneath the earthen dam at the time showed fissures. Mr. Nyul recalled he had questioned the building of the new dam upstream on top of the fissures and was told there would not be leakage. However, Mr. Nyul expressed he thinks that could be the source of the water loss problem.

Mayor Delgrosso informed Mr. Nyul that measurement of the water loss is not at the Penn Forest Dam.

Street Paving - Club Avenue

Mr. Nyul, asking whether Club Avenue will be paved, noted there are large pot holes.

Michael Alkhal, Director of Public Works, responded it will be done this year.

City Services Rendered To Non-Profits - Reimbursement

Patrick Herrity, 732 Hawthorne Road, advised that Mr. Gregory's comments at a previous City Council Meeting about whether the City was being adequately recompensed by St. Luke's Hospital prompted him to think about City services rendered to other non-profits. Mr. Herrity notified the Members about an article in the Sunday Morning Call in which it was reported that the City of Pittsburgh is considering a plan to address a part of its budget shortfall through formation of a foundation to which non-profits could contribute to offset the cost of city services provided to them. Mr. Herrity thought perhaps the concept could be reviewed to assist in Bethlehem's future budget deliberations.

Mayor Delgrosso, informing Mr. Herrity that was discussed this morning at his staff meeting, expressed that Pittsburgh's experience with it should first be studied. Mayor Delgrosso pointed out that the amount to be contributed is at the discretion of each non-profit.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:07 p.m.

City Clerk