City Council

Council Minutes

July 17, 2007 Meeting Minutes

10 East Church Street – Town Hall
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Tuesday, July 17, 2007 – 7:30 PM


President Schweder called the meeting to order. Gordon B. Mowrer, Member of Council, offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, Karen Dolan, Robert J. Donchez, Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., Gordon B. Mowrer, Magdalena F. Szabo, and J. Michael Schweder 7.


The Minutes of July 3, 2007 were approved with the following correction. At the request of Dennis Reichard, Business Administrator, on page 7 it is corrected to state 62,000 miles instead of 52,000 miles.

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



Lowe’s Development – Eighth Avenue

Mrs. Belinski, noting there is an ongoing problem with the Lowe’s property on Eighth Avenue, read from a letter dated June 28, 2007 from Robert Williams, 1207 Stanford Road, who has complained to City Council several times in the past. Mr. Williams enumerated in his letter that trucks continue arriving at the Lowe’s store in the early morning hours, although residents were assured this would not occur. There is noise after closing hours from the use of industrial blowers and cleaners, and cleaning and vacuum trucks that has sometimes lasted until 12:20 a.m. The residential berm is not being maintained, grass and weed trimming is done haphazardly, many weeds are 2-3 feet high, there has been no trimming around trees, shrubs, and fences. Mr. Williams expressed that the developer should own up to the promises made and City Council should ensure this is done.

Mrs. Belinski, advising she has been tracking the condition of the berm and weeds, noted that Tracy Samuelson, Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning, was at the site and will provide a written report. Mrs. Belinski wondered whether there is anything the City can do to get the individuals to live by their promises.

Mayor Callahan responded the staff could look at the schedule for cleaning operations, and try to work with Lowe’s for more appropriate hours. Mrs. Belinski recounted another issue is the fact that the lights remain on after the store is closed which leads to continuing traffic. Mayor Callahan commented that to his knowledge Mr. Williams seems to be the only person who has raised the issues. Mrs. Belinski pointed out that Mr. Williams is most affected by the matters. Mrs. Belinski stated that she will forward to the Mayor a copy of Mr. Williams’ letter that was addressed to City Council.

Lehigh Little League

Ms. Dolan wondered whether the situation between Lehigh Little League’s management and the other teams improved since the Use Permit Agreement was renegotiated in the Spring. Communicating the answer might be no, Ms. Dolan explained that apparently last Sunday night an assault occurred at Lehigh Little League fields, a police report was filed, but no charges were filed. Ms. Dolan advised three people told her that a high level Lehigh Little League board member assaulted a volunteer from another League. In addition, apparently Lehigh Little League management is locking up equipment, and restricting use of the field house. Stating that of equal concern is that Lehigh Little League does not seem to be in compliance with Federal and State laws regarding 501c3 non-profit status, Ms. Dolan observed that would make them out of compliance with the Use Permit Agreement that was renegotiated and signed this past Spring. Ms. Dolan pointed out that item 5 D of the Use Permit Agreement provides that any violation of the Use Permit Agreement shall result in termination of the Agreement, including but not limited to violation and/or non-compliance with any federal or state law, City Ordinance, policy, rule or regulation. Ms. Dolan recounted that at the last Parks and Public Property Committee meeting she was informed that Lehigh Little League is a 501c3 organization, and she requested a copy of their audit since their income was more than $100,000 a year and are required by State law to file certain forms and have an independent audit. However, Ms. Dolan advised she never received a copy of their audit. Ms. Dolan notified the assembly she could not find on-line any record of Lehigh Little League being a 501c3 organization. Ms. Dolan, expressing the problem has perhaps become exacerbated since the Use Permit was renegotiated, affirmed she spoke today with Jody Reppert, Parks and Public Property Department Business Manger. Ms. Dolan respectfully requested that John F. Spirk, Jr., Esq., City Solicitor, or someone from his office to look into whether or not Lehigh Little League management is out of compliance with their current lease because they are not in compliance with Federal and State law. Ms. Dolan also asked that the Parks and Public Property Department reopen the issue now, as opposed to waiting until a later date, in view of the fact that the baseball season is coming to an end and the time can be taken to solve the issues long in advance of the next season. Ms. Dolan asked whether, at the earliest convenience after the responses from the Law Bureau and Parks and Public Property Department have been received and reviewed, a Parks and Public Property Committee meeting could be scheduled.

Stefko Boulevard and Pembroke Road Corridor Study

Ms. Szabo affirmed that last year she served on a committee to survey the Stefko Boulevard and Pembroke Road Corridor, and pointed out that a lot of time and money was to go towards the project. Ms. Szabo asked the status of the proposal.

Tony Hanna, Director of Community and Economic Development, explained there was a setback with the termination of the Just Born Visitors Center project around which the Corridor development was centered. Mr. Hanna commented it is hoped to discuss with Just Born the possibility of resurrecting the project. In addition, the City is reviewing preliminary work and grant applications for the lower end and possibly the middle section of Stefko Boulevard. Mr. Hanna advised the City is in process of completing its Enterprise Zone planning study that incorporates a portion of the lower end of Stefko Boulevard, and there is a possibility that some Enterprise Zone funds could be used to implement a portion of the study.

Ms. Szabo expressed her concern particularly about the Pembroke Road area because of a proven urgent need to address the heavy traffic, crossing zones, and children using the crossing zones. Mr. Szabo further highlighted the fact that an individual was killed crossing the street.

Mr. Hanna responded he can work with the Public Works Department regarding traffic safety issues.


A. City Solicitor – Street Vacation Ordinance – Portion of Leonard Street

The Clerk read a memorandum dated July 12, 2007 from John F. Spirk, Jr., Esq., City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed ordinance to effect the vacation of a portion of Leonard Street between Lebanon Street and Woodbine Street.

President Schweder stated that Bill No. 21 – 2007 is listed on the agenda for First Reading.


A. President of Council

1. Councilmanic Appointments – Environmental Advisory Council

President Schweder referred Resolution 8 A 1 back to the Human Resources and Environment Committee.

B. Mayor


C. Human Resources and Environment Committee

Ms. Dolan, Chairwoman of the Human Resources and Environment Committee, presented an oral report of the Committee's meeting held on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 on the following subject: Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) Candidates – Preliminary Selection.




A. Bill No. 21 – 2007 – Street Vacation Ordinance – Portion of Leonard Street

The Clerk read Bill No. 21 – 2007 – Street Vacation Ordinance – Portion of Leonard Street, sponsored by Mr. Leeson and Ms. Dolan, and titled:


Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 21 – 2007 was declared passed on First Reading.


A. Declaring Special Condition for Parking - Musikfest 2007

Mr. Leeson and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution 15,101 by which a Special Condition was declared during Musikfest 2007 for the period from 12:00 Noon, Friday, August 3, 2007 through 12:00 Midnight at the end of Sunday, August 12, 2007; and, under the provisions of Article 531.99(c) designating the area to be affected by this Resolution that shall be the area within the outline of the diagram which is marked Exhibit A; and by which fines were increased for various parking violations.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.

B. Approving Records Destruction – Human Resources Bureau

Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Leeson sponsored Resolution 15,102 that authorized the disposition of the public records of the Human Resources Bureau, as listed in Exhibit A, according to schedules and procedures for the disposition of records as set forth in the Municipal Records Manual approved on July 16, 1993 and Resolution 13,076.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.

Considering Resolutions As A Group

Mr. Mowrer and Ms. Szabo moved that Resolutions 11 C through 11 G be considered as a group. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.

C. Certificate of Appropriateness – 424 High Street

Mr. Leeson and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 15,103 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness for the installation of a satellite dish at 424 High Street.

D. Certificate of Appropriateness – 77 West Broad Street

Mr. Leeson and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 15,104 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install a double-sided, projecting sign at 77 West Broad Street, Unit 11C.

E. Certificate of Appropriateness – 123 East Church Street

Mr. Leeson and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 15,105 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the existing fencing at the rear of 123 East Church Street.

F. Certificate of Appropriateness – 574 Main Street

Mr. Leeson and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 15,106 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install operable windows on the Broad Street façade of 574 Main Street.

G. Certificate of Appropriateness – 516 Center Street

Mr. Leeson and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 15,107 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace fencing and paving at 516 Center Street.

Voting AYE on Resolutions 11 C through 11 G: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolutions passed.

H. Certificate of Appropriateness – 440 Heckewelder Place

Mr. Leeson and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 11 H that denied a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace a portion of the slate roof with fiberglass hingles at 440 Heckewelder Place.

Mr. Leeson, noting the applicant wants to replace the slate shingles with fiberglass shingles, pointed out there is a type of fiberglass shingle called Slateline that the HARB has approved in the past. Mr. Leeson commented if replacement were to be allowed he would like to confirm that the Slateline type of product that looks like slate is used as opposed to an ordinary type of fiberglass shingles.

Mr. Leeson and Ms. Dolan moved to Table Resolution 11 H. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.

I. Authorizing Tower Lease Agreement – Omnipoint Communications, Inc. –
Monocacy Park

Mr. Leeson and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 15,108 that authorized the execution of a Tower Lease Agreement between the City and Omnipoint Communications, Inc., to operate a communications system in Monocacy Park Complex on Illick's Mill Road, according to the terms of the agreement.

Ms. Dolan, noting she was unable to attend the last Parks and Public Property Committee meeting, thanked Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Leeson for their diligence in requesting a monopole without antennas. Ms. Dolan questioned whether there will be a flag placed on top of the monopole.

Ralph Carp, Director of Parks and Public Property, replied that the proposed pole will be able to support a flag if it is so chosen to raise one.

Mr. Leeson moved the following amendment: the Tower Lease Agreement shall be subject to the right of the City of Bethlehem to use the subject pole as a flag pole and to place a flag on the top of the pole. Ms. Dolan seconded the motion.

Voting AYE on the Amendment: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The amendment passed.

Voting AYE on Resolution 11 I, as amended: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.


Committee Meeting Announcement

Chairwoman Dolan announced a Human Resources and Environment Committee meeting on August 1, 2007 at 6:00 PM in Town Hall regarding the Environmental Advisory Council – Preliminary Selections.

Chairman Leeson announced a Finance Committee meeting on August 7, 2007 at 4:30 PM on 2006 Deficit and 2007 Projected Deficit, Transfers of Funds and Budget Amendments.

Chairman Donchez announced a Public Safety Committee meeting on August 28, 2007 at 7:00 PM on updates from the Police, Fire, and EMS Departments.


Lehigh Little League

Shawn Bogert, 1608 West Broad Street, expressed his opinion that, for the incidents to which he will refer, Lehigh Little League is in violation of sections 3, 4, 5 a. and b. of the organization’s Use Permit Agreement with the City of Bethlehem. Mr. Bogert enumerated dates and incidents that occurred at the baseball fields located in the Monocacy Park Complex on Illick’s Mill and Schoenersville Roads leased by Lehigh Little League from the City. Mr. Bogert explained that although he was given clearance to work on the mounds and would be given a key there were instances when he and his son were not allowed to work on the mounds and were not given the key to the equipment shed. At the Northampton vs. Cardinals game, there was dirt shoved into the rubber at the landing place, and water poured on it. He explained that one of the Cardinals pitchers nearly broke his ankle, the umpire stopped the game and required a restart to fix the mound. Mr. Bogert notified the assembly of an incident when Gene Ashner of Lehigh Little League told the coach that the game cannot start until Mr. Bogert’s daughter leaves the balcony area. Mr. Bogert explained other instances when he was announcing games and the amplifiers and CD were not available for use, there was no access to sheds, no lines on the field, and no ability to work on mounds after the games. He stated that people witnessed Mr. Ashner offering the use of lines and liner for a $1,000 cash donation. A game for Martins Creek and Cardinals, who do not have a backup field, was cancelled at the last minute, as was a scheduled game against Hellertown due to a Little League All Star game. Although the Cardinals would have played afterwards at 8:00 PM under the lights, they were refused. At another Cardinals game when they brought their own sound system, Mr. Bogert explained that Mr. Ashner pushed him, grabbed the microphone, and ran off the field. Mr. Bogert asked Mr. Ashner to please return the microphone and related that Mr. Ashner turned around and started pushing Mr. Bogert. Mr. Bogert said he backed off and ran out the door, Mr. Bogert’s son saw the whole thing, and several other people saw the incident. Mr. Bogert said he did not press charges because he is not interested in doing that. Mr. Bogert, informing the Members he is consulting an attorney regarding this matter, remarked that he was assaulted by an individual on City property, and citizens are being denied access to enjoy the taxpayers property.

President Schweder inquired if this is along the lines of what has been mentioned by Ms. Dolan. Ms. Dolan replied yes. President Schweder, noting there is another City Council Meeting in two weeks, communicated that the Members will await the responses from the Parks and Public Property Department and the Law Bureau.

Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

Peter Crownfield, 569 Brighton Street, commented that about a year ago Mayor Callahan and the Mayors of Allentown and Easton signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Mr. Crownfield noted that Bethlehem has almost completed its greenhouse gas inventory and will be moving forward with the matter. Mr. Crownfield added that he will provide copies for the Members of what will be involved.

City Vehicles – Use of Hybrids

Mr. Crownfield noted that at the last City Council Meeting one of the Members brought up the question of not buying hybrid vehicles in view of the cost. Mr. Crownfield informed the Members that based on current Pennsylvania market prices, a Toyota Prius hybrid would cost several thousand dollars less than a Chevrolet Impala, and over a five year period would save over $13,000 because of the fuel mileage. Mr. Crownfield recited the statistics on which the savings were based including price of gas and yearly mileage. Mr. Crownfield stressed that taking the steps to protect the environment, the air, and to save the City money are all well within reach and should be worked on.

Itaska, Ontario, and Jischke Streets – Crime

Eddie Rodriquez, 1845 Linden Street, recounted the many times he has addressed the assembly concerning the negativity in neighborhoods and asserted he will not give up his efforts. Mr. Rodriquez informed the assembly that recent events in the 600 block of Itaska Street have taken a toll on neighborhood residents and families. Mr. Rodriquez notified the Members that a young gang member shot a gun upwards towards a utility pole, the negative element is preying on innocent people, individuals are dealing drugs, and constantly hanging outside at all hours of the night. Mr. Rodriquez questioned how much will it take to get Jischke Park cleaned up, and added that in the Jischke Street alley the light was broken with a gunshot, and neighbors are in fear for their lives. Mr. Rodriquez, while commending Deputy Police Commissioner Bedics, expressed that more has to be done. Mr. Rodriquez said the Police Substation needs to be moved from the Five Points area and put it at 602 Ontario Street area where the property owner offered to lease it. Mr. Rodriquez suggested initiating efforts to clean up the park with a block party. Mr. Rodriquez expressed he needs the City’s help and the Mayor to come to the block party.

Fireworks; Christkindlmarkt; Steelstax; Trees; and LERTA

Robert Pfenning, 2830 Linden Street, thanked the Parks Department for the 4th of July fireworks display.

Mr. Pfenning advised that Northampton County Council passed a Resolution to give Christkindlmarkt a $25,000 grant from the hotel tax. He further stated that Northampton County Council supports the Steelstax project and encouraged the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to authorize $12 million towards the project.

Mr. Pfenning, referring to his comments at a past City Council Meeting, informed the Members that at the last Planning Commission meeting he was informed that although there is a City street tree ordinance requiring the replacement of trees there is no ordinance governing replacement of trees on the remainder of a property. Mr. Pfenning recommended that the Environmental Advisory Council review and address the deforestation of the City.

Mr. Pfenning, while noting that at a past City Council Meeting Mr. Hanna had indicated meetings would be set up soon, commented that since March there has been no follow-up with the Bethlehem Area School District or Northampton County Council for approval of the City’s LERTA Ordinance. Mr. Pfenning expressed there may be some feeling on the part of these other bodies that their participation in the LERTA program is not necessary since Bethlehem will be getting money from the casino development. Mr. Pfenning remarked that economic development continues in the City without LERTA.

Lehigh Little League; Homestead Avenue; and Adding Police Officers

William Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, suggested that the lease agreement with Lehigh Little League be terminated, and the fields accessible to all people.

Mr. Scheirer commented that a number of Homestead Avenue residences had 1 to 2 feet of stormwater in their yards after the last storm that came up to the doorsteps.

Mr. Scheirer stated that the Bethlehem Citizens Association discussed the idea of 10 additional Police Officers in the next budget in order to bring the total up to what will be needed with the casino, and that half of those should be narcotics Officers.

Lehigh Little League

Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, felt that something needs to be done concerning the Lehigh Little League’s Use Permit Agreement with the City, and the Agreement needs to be enforced so everyone can enjoy the public facility.

Itaska, Ontario, and Jischke Streets – Crime

Samuel Gonzalez, 66 Ontario Street, advised he returned from Iraq in March, and has four children. Mr. Gonzalez informed the Members there was a shootout in the neighborhood the other night and his children came into his room crying and shaking. Mr. Gonzalez expressed that he is frustrated because he has experienced enough gunshots in Iraq. Mr. Gonzalez explained there are 10-15 youths who are 14-15 years old who fight, shoot, do and sell drugs. Advising he has called the Police, Mr. Gonzalez advised when Police Officers come and question whether the youths have any drugs or guns, the youths say no, the Police leave, and 20 minutes later the same thing happens. He stressed they make fun of the Police. Mr. Gonzalez asked for more Police patrol of the area, especially around the park later in the evening when the youths are using drugs. Mr. Gonzalez pointed out that his children play in the park. In addition, Mr. Gonzalez notified the Members there is excessive speeding in the area and asked whether speed bumps could be installed so that someone, in particular his children, does not get hurt. Mr. Gonzalez asked that he be given the chance to take care of his family, and that something be done to take care of the problems before someone is hurt.

Time Limits

Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, stated that the invocation speaker this evening requested a five minute time limit for citizens, asked that the pressure be taken off the President of Council to end people’s comments, and that unlimited time for speaking be reintroduced. Mr. Antalics explained that the five minute time limit does not work.

Itaska, Ontario, and Jischke Streets – Crime

William Reynolds, 603 Itaska Street, expressed it is a problem in the area, and the gunshots went off while he was sleeping. Mr. Reynolds stated there is a big drug scene at the corner of Ontario and Itaska Streets, and the Police Department has done their best to address it. Mr. Reynolds explained it is a youth problem. Mr. Reynolds noted when he heard the gunshots he did not know where they occurred. Mr. Reynolds communicated the bigger issues involved are the need for more Police Officers and safer neighborhoods. Mr. Reynolds informed the assembly that the good neighbors almost always leave because of the situations in the area. Mr. Reynolds thought the Police have done the best they could with the situation they have, but remarked they are facing an uphill battle. Mr. Reynolds pointed out it would behoove everyone to try to do something about the situation. Mr. Reynolds expressed that the neighborhood is a place where no one wants to live, and the problems are growing.


Carol Ann Krasley, Center Street, highlighted the fact that the crime problem is not just on the South Side of the Lehigh River, and is also on the North Side of the River. Mrs. Krasley advised that one of the respectable neighbors put her house up for sale because of the problems, and in view of the high frustration level and fear for her children, her animals, and her safety. Mrs. Krasley pointed out when people move out of the neighborhood it leaves a vacuum and it is unknown who will move in. Mrs. Krasley reported that last night a driver, who appeared to be belligerent and perhaps inebriated, ran a stop sign at East Broad and Center Streets.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.