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July 6, 2010
BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
10 East Church Street – Town Hall
Tuesday, July 6, 2010 – 7:00 PM
2. PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
3. ROLL CALL
President Robert J. Donchez called the meeting to order. Reverend Wayne Killian, University Parish of Holy Ghost Church, offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, Karen Dolan, Eric R. Evans, Gordon B. Mowrer, J. William Reynolds, and Robert J. Donchez, 6. David T. DiGiacinto was absent, 1.
Citation – Honoring Thomas Carr
President Donchez read a Citation honoring Thomas Carr on the occasion of his retirement after 39 years of service with the Recycling Bureau. The members of Council applauded Mr. Carr and wished him well in his retirement.
Citation – Honoring William Bond
President Donchez stated that the Citation honoring William Bond on the occasion of his retirement after 38 years of service with the Engineering Bureau will be sent to him since he was not able to attend this evening’s City Council Meeting.
Citation – Honoring John D. Rohal
President Donchez stated that the Citation honoring John D. Rohal on the occasion of his retirement after 38 years of service with the Redevelopment Authority will be sent to him since he was not able to attend this evening’s City Council Meeting.
Prior to the consideration of the regular Agenda items City Council conducted two Public Hearings.
1. Intermunicipal Transfer of Liquor License - Woodland Hills Golf Course, Inc. to 2625 Easton Avenue
President Donchez called to order the first Public Hearing to receive public comment on the Application for the Intermunicipal Transfer of Restaurant Liquor License Number R-19545 owned by Woodland Hills Golf Course, Inc., formerly licensed to conduct business at 4166 Lower Saucon Road, Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania to Big Woody’s Pizza and Sports Bar, 2625 Easton Avenue, Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, as required under Pennsylvania Liquor Code 47 P.S. Section 4-461 (b.3).
Attorney Joseph Leeson, Jr. stated he serves as legal counsel for the applicant, Big Woody’s Restaurants. Attorney Leeson affirmed that the owner, Elwood Marcks, Sr. is present at the City Council Meeting this evening. Attorney Leeson advising that the proposal is to open the first restaurant in the Bethlehem area, noted there are three restaurants in the Allentown area, and one restaurant in Forks Township north of Easton. Attorney Leeson, referring to the handout distributed to the Members of Council this evening, pointed out the first item is the proposed floor plan showing that the restaurant would accommodate 250 guests. The restaurant is proposed to be located at the former Hollywood Video Store that is now empty at 2625 Easton Avenue at the intersection of Clermont Street where there is a strip shopping center in which is currently located CVS, and Chinese Restaurant. Attorney Leeson advised the next item is a sample menu, and the final item is a photograph of the restaurant in Forks Township. Attorney Leeson stated the proposed number of employees is 30 full time and 20 part time for a total of 50 employees. The proposed investment in terms of construction expenditures is approximately $700,000. About 70% to 80% of the Big Woody’s Restaurants are food sales. Informing the Members that Big Woody’s is very active in every community in which it does business, Attorney Leeson advised that in the Lehigh Valley it sponsors the annual walk for the kidney foundation, is a principal sponsor of the local chapter of the Cancer Society, sponsors many local sports teams, and offers discounted food prices for the benefit of school activities and programs. There are no live bands or dancing but there are disc jockeys. Attorney Leeson affirmed to the best of their knowledge there is one other business in the neighborhood that has a bar and restaurant facility across the street called Pizza Como. Stating that Big Woody’s would like to become part of the Bethlehem community, Attorney Leeson noted it proposes to make a substantial investment in the community and to hire 50 people, sees Bethlehem as a forward looking, growing and successful community, and wants to be a part of it not only on a business level but in participating on a charitable level as well as it has done in the Forks Township and Allentown areas.
Mr. Reynolds asked if the restaurant plans to allow smoking.
Attorney Leeson replied no.
President Donchez confirmed that Attorney Leeson did notify the surrounding property owners of the proposal.
Mr. Evans observed the proposed restaurant looks bigger than the Hollywood Video store.
Attorney Leeson, responding it is 8,000 square feet, commented when the walls are taken down there will be enough room for the project.
Dan Maffea, 2510 Riegel Street, said the Bethlehem Raiders Association is located behind the proposed restaurant and those are some of his concerns. Notifying the Members that there is a petition that has been started, Mr. Fay explained the association is concerned about people leaving the bars, and traffic in the area that is bad already.
Eddie Rodriquez, 1845 Linden Street, said he also has some concerns regarding children who are constantly in the area and he is wondering about security. Mr. Rodriquez noted he has gone to the restaurant in Allentown, and exclaimed the pizza is very good, and he welcomes the restaurant.
Bruce Haines, 65 West Market Street, stated the City of Bethlehem far exceeds the number of liquor licenses in the City than the State guidelines for liquor licenses, many of which are sitting unused currently. Mr. Haines questioned why another liquor license needs to be transferred into an already oversubscribed community and why Woody’s could not find a liquor license that already exists in the City as opposed to increasing well beyond normal the number of liquor licenses for the City.
Attorney Leeson responded that this license was purchased out of bankruptcy proceedings and that is how it was acquired, it is subject to an agreement of sale, and it was a particularly good deal. Attorney Leeson commented that if anyone knows of a liquor license for sale in the City of Bethlehem to let him know.
Bill Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, said he is encouraged that Big Woody’s Restaurants get 70%-80% of revenue from food. Mr. Scheirer questioned whether there is ample parking for the number of patrons or if on some days it will flow into the neighborhood.
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, thought there were two points of access to the rear of the strip and it might be beneficial to place some restrictions on traffic so that it is not exiting onto the street at the rear and can only come in from the street. He continued on to say that driving into the area where the Bethlehem Raiders have their activities would be greatly reduced or eliminated if traffic is only permitted to pull into the parking lot.
Attorney Leeson, stating that Mr. Grubb’s suggestion is a good one, said he consulted with Mr. Marcks and he is agreeable to doing something along those lines. Attorney Leeson added it is his understanding that the owner of the property has applied for expansion of the parking next door, although it is thought there is adequate parking as it is.
President Donchez announced that the Resolution is listed on this evening’s Agenda.
The first Public Hearing was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.
2. 2010 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) - $59,161
President Donchez called to order the second Public Hearing to review and accept public comment on the proposed use of funds to be received under the 2010 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) in the amount of $59,161, of which $36,865 is allocated to the City of Bethlehem. The remaining $22,296 is allocated to the City of Easton for whom the City of Bethlehem serves as fiscal agent as required by federal guidelines. For serving as fiscal agent, the City of Bethlehem will receive an administrative fee of $2,229, which represents ten percent (10%) of the City of Easton’s JAG funding.
7A. Lt. Ashley Heiberger - 2010 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG)
The Clerk read a letter dated June 28, 2010 from Lt. Ashley Heiberger stating that the Police Department is applying for a 2010 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) in the amount of $59,161. This amount was calculated by the federal government using many factors, including Bethlehem's Part I crime statistics as detailed in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. Of that amount, $36,865 is allocated to the City of Bethlehem. The remaining $22,296 is allocated to the City of Easton. Bethlehem will receive $2,229 (or ten percent of Easton's allocation) for serving as the fiscal agent and administering the grant. The Police Department would like to use the JAG funds to replace computers and purchase related items, and to replace duty handguns which are rapidly nearing the end of their useful life. The items are as follows: Computers and Electronic Devices: hardware, software, peripherals - $18,432; Duty Handguns: Glock semi-automatic pistols equipped with night sights - $18,433. The grant application requires that the governing body provide public notice of the grant application and provide an opportunity for public comment.
Stuart Bedics, Police Commissioner, stated that the City’s allocation for the 2010 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) is almost $30,000. The amount of $18,432 is for hardware, software, and computers to upgrade some of the computer equipment. The remaining $18,433 is to replace the aging firearms used by Police Officers. During firearm qualifications in the Spring it was discovered that in many of the Glock pistols that are 10-12 years old there was starting to be a breakdown of the bottom that is polymer plastic and does not withstand that many rounds. Police Commissioner Bedics added that the Department would like to purchase 42 guns to make sure there are ample firearms being replaced.
President Donchez asked what brand would be purchased.
Police Commissioner Bedics, affirming the guns to be purchased will be Glocks, added the flaw has been addressed.
Bill Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, queried if Glock is an
Austrian firm to which Police Commissioner Bedics replied
that is correct.
President Donchez announced that the Resolution will be placed on the July 20 Council Agenda.
The second Public Hearing was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Minutes of June 15, 2010 were approved.
5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on Ordinances and Resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening – 5 Minute Time Limit)
Vendor Cart – 15 West Fourth Street
Robert Pfenning, 2830 Linden Street, observed there was concern about the vendor using an umbrella on which the brand name Sabrett is used and the committee felt that violated the signage part of the Vendor Ordinance. Mr. Pfenning expressed the hope that City Council would modify the Ordinance to allow the hot dog cart to have a traditional hot dog umbrella. Mr. Pfenning informed the assembly that he walked in the vicinity last night and saw at least six businesses that display in their windows the brand names of the products they are selling. Mr. Pfenning did not think the character of the neighborhood would be greatly diminished by allowing the hot dog cart to look like a hot dog cart.
Main Street Parking Project – Archeological Information
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, noted that among the questions about the Main Street Parking Project was whether Parking Authority funds could be used, and expressed the hope that information would be made public as part of the discussions. Mr. Grubb thought the Moravian Archives representative raised substantive issues about the potential archeological resources at the location, and suggested that before approval is given and the project advances it is owed to the community to at least take a look at the issues raised. Mr. Grubb recommended that Council either table the Ordinance or consider placing the $75,000 into unprogrammed funds until it is known whether it makes sense to have an archeological dig done or research done before the project advances. Mr. Grubb, observing that Bethlehem markets itself as a place of history and its preservation, restated it is owed to the community and those concerned about preservation to give serious consideration to look at the location based on documents available and do an analysis of the site before the retaining wall is built and potential history is eradicated. He enumerated projects that did not preserve the history of Bethlehem including Broughal Middle School, Number 8 Hammer Shop, root cellars, and billboard on the Hill to Hill Bridge. Mr. Grubb added the money can always be reallocated to the project.
Bruce Haines, 65 West Market Street, stated he is managing partner of the Hotel Bethlehem, and advised he supports the concept of parking in that location. However, he noted the approval process is out of step and added he was told the HARB members indicated this was never brought before the HARB Board. President Donchez informed Mr. Haines that a presentation was made to the HARB Board. Michael Alkhal, Director of Public Works, affirmed that a presentation was made at one of the regularly scheduled HARB Board meetings and was attended by most of the HARB members. Mr. Alkhal further notified Mr. Haines that the Administration was not asking the HARB for a Certificate of Appropriateness, the Administration made the presentation, took the HARB members comments, incorporated them into the project, and will comply with what they recommended. Mr. Haines expressed his hope that the idea of back-in parking would be abandoned with these additional nine spaces. Mr. Haines explained that comments about back-in parking have been received by Hotel Bethlehem guests and employees, and sometimes drivers have to back in two or three times since many have never had the experience of back-in parking. He further explained that drivers trying to get around those who are back-in parking have to go into the opposing traffic lane. Mr. Haines felt that combining the current back-in parking on Main Street with the proposal for the other side of Main Street to also have back-in parking is a huge mistake. Mr. Haines, adding that the Hotel’s van will experience magnified delays with the proposal, stated there will be safety issues with drivers on both sides of the roads trying to back-in park while others are waiting and trying to get around them. Mr. Haines thought the matter should be reviewed. Mr. Haines suggested that the idea of parking on the bridge ramp from Route 378 should also be explored.
Lanie Graf, 529 Heyer Mill Road, Nazareth, Assistant Archivist
for the Moravian Church Archives, stated she is at the Meeting
tonight as a friend saying to another friend putting nine
parking spots on Main Street in the area surrounding the Pottery
and the Smith is a poor idea when considering the historic
nature of the landscape. Ms. Graf expressed the hope that
the plan will be abandoned immediately and instead redirected
to a less historically sensitive area of the city. Ms. Graf
related that Dr. Paul Peucker, Archives Director, personally
spoke against this plan to several people at City Hall and
in the Engineering Bureau when he first heard of it, but to
no avail. Dr. Peucker sits on the City’s Preservation
Task Force, and upon joining was told the goal of the task
force was to prevent catastrophes like the root cellars from
happening again. Ms. Graf said she and Dr. Peucker are both
personally opposed to the plan due to the historic significance
of the landscape and are here tonight to prevent a sequel
to the root cellar destruction. Ms. Graf stressed that the
plan for nine more parking spaces in the downtown is inherently
a good idea; however, the choice of the location of the parking
is bad for several reasons that were outlined in an Express-Times
article of June 20, 2010. Ms. Graf focused on the reasons
of historic preservation that also includes preservation of
views. Ms. Graf pointed out that nine parking spaces and a
large wall in front of the Pottery and Smithy buildings will
look terrible no matter what spin the architects and engineers
put on it and will ruin the historic aesthetics and authenticity
of the site. The present grass and open space looks tempting
for development but the area is not a vacant lot. It is a
very significant grassy knoll and not simply an empty field.
Placement of parking in front of the Pottery would compromise
an extremely historically sensitive area of the old Industrial
Quarter. The Pottery and Smithy do not stop where their walls
stop, and these industries extended out into the surrounding
area and yard. Referring to the handout, Ms. Graf informed
the assembly that 40 years ago in 1970 a preliminary archeological
dig was completed of the site. Although much was discovered,
the dig itself was preliminary in nature. The third recommendation
from the people who did the dig advised that the Pottery area
will need at least one additional full scale project to uncover
and decipher the extant remains from the early shops and remove
modern intrusions. Ms. Graf notified the Members there has
not yet been another archeological excavation of the site,
and it is recommended that another be done before any development
is undertaken in the area. Quoting further from the report,
Ms. Graf said the 1970 season revealed an amazingly large
number of remains for such a small parcel of land about 80
feet by 120 feet. These remains, many in the form of walls,
lay in all directions, criss-crossing, overlapping and butting
one another in a complicated fashion. Ms. Graf expressed that
the City at present does not have a thorough enough understanding
of the complicated remains which lay underground. Research
into the Pottery has intensified in recent years. At the Archives,
the records are kept for the historic Bethlehem businesses
which include historic maps and ledgers that show the exact
locations of the buildings. Ms. Graf said she would be happy
to share the information from over the past few years. There
have been many researchers expressing an intense interest
in the Pottery and other historic businesses, including experts
from Winterthur Museum, archeologists from Yale University,
Muhlenberg College, and Lehigh University, and today an inquiry
was received from a scholar at William and Mary College in
Virginia. Destruction of the surrounding area of the Pottery
would be most untimely and lamented by these institutions.
Development of the site would be a relatively small improvement
that would not be worth what it would destroy. Nine parking
spaces are not going to make or break the downtown economy
but would ruin the potential for future research on the Pottery
and Smithy. The loss would far outweigh the benefits of this
decision. In 20 years the significance and benefit of nine
parking spaces will mean very little, but the destruction
of the Pottery area will be irreversible and a tremendous
loss. Ms. Graf, highlighting the fact that the City’s
vibrant downtown is situated in a most historically sensitive
area of the City, pointed out it makes it harder to act and
requires more planning, foresight, and stewardship on the
City’s part. Ms. Graf, while acknowledging that economic
development is great, asked that the City not steamroll over
historically sensitive areas to do it. Ms. Graf advised that
she and Dr. Peucker propose two alternatives. The first is
to redirect downtown parking to a less sensitive area, such
as off the Hill to Hill Bridge, and the area behind the Main
Street Commons. The second recommendation, if it is decided
to go ahead with the Main Street Parking project, is an archeological
dig of the site before it is destroyed.
Eddie Rodriquez, 1845 Linden Street, said he is not happy with the nine spaces and is against having them in front of the Smithy since it would ruin a lot of the view. Mr. Rodriquez questioned the angle of the parking spaces. Mr. Alkhal informed him the front of the cars would point towards Church Street. Mr. Rodriquez did not think it was wise to have parking on the Hill to Hill Bridge ramp, and would potentially make it more hazardous and dangerous, particularly for senior citizens.
Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, noted that coming north on Main Street drivers could pull directly into an angle parking spot and could easily see when backing out, and the same if drivers were going south on Main Street. Mr. Antalics explained this is a much easier situation than back-in parking, and wondered what was the rationale to justify back-in parking.
Al Bernotas, 1004 Johnston Drive, communicated his disfavor of back-in angle parking. He commended Big Woody’s for coming into the City in a commercial district without having to go to the Zoning Hearing Board and doing anything that would encroach on a residential neighborhood.
Peter Crownfield, 569 Brighton Street, remarked about the difficulties observed with back-in angle parking. Mr. Crownfield commented that Ms. Graf said what needed to be said concerning the Main Street Parking project and the importance of the Smithy and Pottery areas. Mr. Crownfield thought there was a great contradiction in the City that is promoting walkability, and in view of the climate protection agreement signed by the Mayor highlighting what can be done to try to reduce vehicle traffic and promote walking within a region where two of the major public health concerns in the area are respiratory illness and obesity. Mr. Crownfield added this is aside from the issue of CDBG money being inappropriately used, as he said was the case with the Mountain Drive project, since CDBG money is to benefit low and moderate income individuals. He remarked that the Main Street parking project is bad planning and is not the right thing to do.
Bill Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, thought that the tendency of the Moravians to operate by consensus may make any of the groups reluctant to publicly oppose things in a political arena. Mr. Scheirer expressed his appreciation to the Moravian Archives for stepping forward. Communicating that providing the parking spaces is not only a financial matter but it is functional and aesthetic, Mr. Scheirer stated, however, that he does not understand the idea of putting the spaces in front of the Smithy.
Michael Alkhal, Director of Public Works, explained that the concern is not centered around getting into the space, but leaving the parking space. While acknowledging that backing into a parking space may be a little more tricky, Mr. Alkhal pointed out that going north on Main Street the driver accessing angle parking spots would signal and the driver behind would have the opportunity to stop while the driver is parking the car. If one has backed into a space, while leaving it one can easily see the cars coming up Main Street and there is ample time to react. If one pulls head in the driver is now closer to the curb and when backing out it is difficult to see cars, especially if there is a larger vehicle parked in the other space, while the driver is backing out into the driving lane. Mr. Alkhal advised that is why the concept of back-in angle parking was recommended. Mr. Alkhal acknowledged that is not commonly used but is getting more use, and there is crash data that supports the idea that back-in is safer when the driver leaves the spot.
Certificate of Approval – Vendor Cart – 15 West Fourth Street
Christopher Morales, 649 Alaska Street, notified the Members that he is the owner of Easy Weenies and he has applied for the Certificate of Approval for a hot dog cart. Turning to the umbrella, Mr. Morales explained that a hot dog cart does historically have that type of sign. Mr. Morales informed the Members that he is provided with an umbrella from the distributor, which in this case is Sabrett because that is the type of hot dog he will be selling. Mr. Morales, advising this is part of his business model, explained this is the same as any other restaurant in the area that has a Boar’s Head or Pepsi Cola sign in their window. The sign shows the type of food being sold so that people know about the quality and can see if the product is of their preference. Mr. Morales affirmed it is not an advertisement for himself but for his customers who will know the type of quality food being offered. Mr. Morales informed the Members that he was just told by Attorney Spadoni this evening that the hours recommended by HARB are in conflict with the hours of outdoor dining in the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Morales confirmed that the HARB approved the hours, and he went through everything that the Ordinance required. Mr. Morales advised that he has operated a vending cart in Easton since March, and added that the Mayor thought that the vending cart being opened in the evening is good for the City environment. He pointed out that many people have come to buy hot dogs on Saturday night at 1:00 AM. Mr. Morales noted that many of his friends are also college age, and further stated that several restaurant businesses in the area support his business model and he has had no opposition to staying open late hours. Affirming that he was approved by the Historic Board, Mr. Morales informed the Members that he was also cleared by John Lezoche, Zoning Officer. Mr. Morales acknowledged it is difficult for everyone to go through this process the first time around. Mr. Morales expressed his appreciation for everyone’s patience in trying to move this along so that he can hopefully sell hot dogs. Mr. Morales expressed his hope that City Council can take the umbrella with the name and the hours under consideration since they are part of his business model.
6. OLD BUSINESS.
A. Tabled Items
B. Unfinished Business
1. Establishing Article 1716 – Landmarks and Properties of Historical Interest
(Assigned to Preservation Plan Task Force)
C. Old Business – Members of Council
B. President Donchez and Council Member Dolan – Amending Zoning Ordinance Section 1325.02 – Zoning Hearing Board – Increasing Number of Members
The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 25, 2010 from Robert J. Donchez, President of Council and Karen Dolan, Member of Council, to which was attached a proposed Ordinance amending Zoning Ordinance Section 1325.02 to increase the Zoning Hearing Board membership to five voting members and two alternates.
President Donchez referred the matter to the Planning Commission and Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.
Ms. Dolan and Mr. Mowrer moved to schedule a Public Hearing on August 17, 2010 at 7:00 PM in Town Hall.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The motion passed.
C. Police Commissioner – Special Event Parking – Musikfest 2010
The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 29, 2010 from Stuart J. Bedics, Commissioner of Police, to which was attached a proposed Resolution covering Special Event Parking during Musikfest 2010 from 12:00 Noon on Friday, August 6, 2010 through 12:00 Midnight at the end of Sunday, August 15, 2010.
President Donchez stated the Resolution will be placed on the July 20 Agenda.
D. President Donchez and Council Member Reynolds –
Amending Article 725 – Lost or Stolen Firearms
The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 30, 2010 from President Donchez and J. William Reynolds, Member of Council, to which was attached a proposed Ordinance requiring the reporting of lost or stolen handguns that was drafted by Christopher T. Spadoni, Council Solicitor.
President Donchez referred the matter to the Public Safety Committee.
E. Director of Water and Sewer Resources – H20 PA Grant – Wastewater Treatment Plant
The Clerk read a memorandum dated June 21, 2010 from David L. Brong, Director of Water and Sewer Resources, to which was attached a proposed Resolution for an H20 PA Act Grant application for the Digester System and Waste Activated Sludge Thickening Improvements Project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The grant is in the amount of $4,976,245.
President Donchez stated authorizing Resolution 11 E is listed on the Agenda.
F. City Solicitor – Lease Agreement – Police Substation – 745 Linden Street
The Clerk read a memorandum dated July 1, 2010 from John F. Spirk, Jr., Esq., City Solicitor, to which was attached a proposed Resolution for a Lease Agreement between the City and Catherine A. Meila for lease of 400 +/- square feet on the first floor of 745 Linden Street for a Police Substation for a period of three years, according to the terms of the Agreement.
President Donchez referred the matter to the Public Safety Committee.
A. President of Council
9. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL PASSAGE
A. Bill No. 17 – 2010 – Amending Community Development Budget – HUD Allocation and Reprogramming of Funds
The Clerk read Bill No. 17 - 2010 – Amending Community
Development Budget – HUD Allocation and Reprogramming
of Funds, on Final Reading.
Amendment to Bill No. 17 – 2010
Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Reynolds sponsored the following Amendment to Bill No. 17 – 2010:
That SECTION 1. which reads as follows:
SECTION 1. That total appropriations in the 2010 Community Development Budget be increased from Six Million, [Four Hundred Twenty-Seven Thousand, Four Hundred Fifty-Eight ($6,427,458)] Dollars to Six Million, [Five Hundred Thirty-Six Thousand, One Hundred Twenty-Four ($6,536,124)] Dollars.
be amended to read as follows:
SECTION 1. That total appropriations in the 2010 Community Development Budget be increased from Six Million, Sixty-Three Thousand, Four Hundred Sixty-Seven ($6,063,467) Dollars to Six Million, One Hundred Seventy-Two Thousand, One Hundred Thirty-Three ($6,172,133) Dollars.
Voting AYE on the Amendment: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The Amendment passed.
Ms. Dolan, noting she had asked about whether the HARB was actually supposed to review the Main Street Parking project and make a recommendation on a Certificate of Appropriateness, said her understanding is that according to the State law if it is a municipal project a Certificate of Appropriateness is not required. Ms. Dolan pointed out that HARB input was requested in this case but a Certificate of Appropriateness is not coming before City Council because it is not required. Ms. Dolan, referring to the report submitted by Lanie Graf of the Moravian Archives titled, 1970 Archeological Season, noted it talks about a project conducted in the 1970’s in the City when people were looking particularly at the destruction that had occurred ten years prior when the City destroyed the building that contained the original Pottery. Preliminary work was done in the 1970’s although not a complete project and it was recognized that the area would need at least one additional full scale project that would uncover and decipher what was left of the early shops and businesses. Ms. Dolan read a sentence stating that while no one likes to be reminded of the travesty on historic preservation dismissing the facts or trying to explain them away will only license similar acts. Ms. Dolan expressed that the people in the 1970’s were talking to the people in the future so that later there would be a record and they could say to those in the future do not make the same mistake again. Ms. Dolan advised it detailed what should be done that is to get underneath the surface where there are walls, and that proper excavation requires several weeks but not years. Ms. Dolan noted it further stated that several thousand early bricks were collected by volunteers during the 1970’s and upon completion of the project the bricks were carefully stacked in the numbered excavations so they would not be lost forever. The bricks are covered with plaster beneath the fill about one and a half feet below the surface in one of the numbered locations. Ms. Dolan pointed out that the City departments involved in the Main Street Parking Improvements project had to meet the goals of fixing the sidewalk and drainage swale on the east, fix the drainage situation, and beautify the important gateway, and while doing so add nine more parking spaces since merchants want more spaces there. Commenting that the City departments did a great job, Ms. Dolan thought that everything has changed in that there are bricks and a Pottery there, and people in the 1970’s said not to make it worse. Ms. Dolan observed if there is a truly historical downtown, lively commerce, and a rich history then people will walk the extra block to get there. She exemplified this is the case in other similar towns such as Doylestown and Annapolis. However, if history is being destroyed or even being chipped away slowly and if it is being done for nine parking spaces people will not come, the City’s credibility will be lost, and people will find another city that took better care of their history. Ms. Dolan said she does not want to be written about in 30 years as being part of a Council that voted to chip away once more. Ms. Dolan thought the matter should be put on hold, and pointed out that a motion to move the $75,000 into undesignated funds would not stop the other CDBG projects from moving forward but would give the time to do it right. Ms. Dolan affirmed to President Donchez that her instinct would not be to table the Ordinance but to move the $75,000 for the Main Street Parking Improvement project into undesignated funds so as not to hold up the other projects. Ms. Dolan expressed she would want to take the couple of weeks so that someone could dig the foot and a half to find what is left before anything is bulldozed.
Mr. Mowrer commented that, as written in his book, one can read what really happened and how Main Street became what it is and how when he was Mayor in the 1970’s the tearing down of buildings stopped, restoration was done, and historical type street lights were installed in the downtown. Mr. Mowrer explained these things helped to make what Bethlehem is today, and that was a major turnaround in the 1970’s. Ms. Dolan, restating that destruction occurred in the 1960’s, commended what was done in the 1970’s.
Mr. Reynolds pointed out that people who live in Bethlehem understand that part of the City’s attraction is the fact that there is a historic downtown. Mr. Reynolds denoted that one of the challenges is balancing the preservation of history with the desire to have a downtown that can compete with other downtowns. Mr. Reynolds observed that many merchants on Main Street want and need the Main Street Parking Improvement project to go forward. Mr. Reynolds read the names of the businesses that signed a petition in support of the project. Mr. Reynolds noted that unfortunately not everyone is willing to walk from the parking garage to the southern end of Main Street. Mr. Reynolds exemplified that one of the reasons why liquor licenses are transferred into Bethlehem is because people want to put their businesses here. Mr. Reynolds highlighted the fact that, with all due respect to the history here, Mr. Alkhal has spoken with the Executive Director of the Historic Bethlehem Partnership who was satisfied with the parking project. Mr. Reynolds thought the City has done as good a job as possible in balancing the interests. Observing it is a tough economy, Mr. Reynolds recounted that merchants on the south end of Main Street have talked about the need for parking. Mr. Reynolds commended Mr. Alkhal and his Department for meeting with Historic Bethlehem Partnership and others to make sure that what would be done would be consistent with respect to the history. Mr. Reynolds stated that he will be voting yes on the Bill.
Ms. Dolan thought if work can be done to save the currently buried artifacts before they are plowed down, and it can be designed so that the view is not ruined, she does not have a problem with the project as long as it is done right. However, Ms. Dolan thought that a new issue has been introduced this evening. Observing there is largely agreement on the issue of parking, and recognizing that everyone may not want to walk a block and a half, Ms. Dolan stressed this issue is different and is about what people in the 1970’s wanted to see done about mistakes made in the 1960’s and they did not want to see another mistake. Ms. Dolan reiterated that placing the $75,000 aside does not stop the project, the money will still be there, and it gives the opportunity to those who know historic archeology to see if there can be involvement from some universities so that a lifetime error does not occur in destroying something that was preserved for the future.
Motion - Fails
Ms. Dolan moved that $75,000 be placed into undesignated funds in the CDBG Budget.
There was no second to the motion, and the motion died.
Mr. Reynolds thought that the idea of the types of cars that would park in the spaces is a good one, and noted that Mr. Alkhal indicated he would look into that matter. Mr. Reynolds commented that if, during the process, anything is disturbed then work should be stopped. Observing that sometimes the people who know more about a project may be second-guessed, Mr. Reynolds communicated that he would have been more inclined to table the issue if objections had been raised by Charlene Donchez-Mowers, Executive Director of the Historic Bethlehem Partnership, who Mr. Alkhal had consulted regarding the project.
Voting AYE on Bill No. 17 – 2010, as Amended: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 5. Voting NAY: Ms. Dolan, 1. Bill No. 17 – 2010, hereafter to be known as Ordinance No. 2010 - 17 was declared adopted.
B. Bill No. 18 – 2010 – Amending Article 531 – Parking Generally
The Clerk read Bill No. 18 – 2010 – Amending Article 531 – Parking Generally, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. Bill No. 18 – 2010, hereafter to be known as Ordinance No. 2010 – 18 was declared adopted.
C. Bill No. 19 – 2010 – Amending Article 533 – Parking Meters
The Clerk read Bill No. 19 – 2010 – Amending Article 533 – Parking Meters, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. Bill No. 19 – 2010, hereafter to be known as Ordinance No. 2010 – 19, was declared adopted.
10. NEW ORDINANCES
Motion – Considering Resolutions as a Group
Mr. Evans and Mr. Reynolds moved to consider Resolutions 11 A through 11 C as a group. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The motion passed.
A. Certificate of Appropriateness – 926 Prospect Avenue
Mr. Evans and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 2010-95 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install a National Register plaque at 926 Prospect Avenue.
B. Certificate of Appropriateness – 322 East Third Street
Mr. Evans and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 2010-96 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install two sets of silhouette lighted signs at 322 East Third Street.
C. Certificate of Appropriateness – 29 East Third Street
Mr. Evans and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 2010-97 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the existing, unstable brick on the north side parapet of the building at 29 East Third Street.
Voting AYE on Resolutions 11 A through 11 C: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The Resolutions passed.
D. Certificate of Approval – Vendor Cart – 15 West Fourth Street
Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution 2010-98 that granted a Certificate of Approval to place a hotdog cart on the sidewalk in front of 15 West Fourth Street.
Ms. Dolan, focusing on item 5 of the Certificate of Approval, asked the appropriate time and procedure for addressing the matter of the umbrella and signage.
President Donchez, affirming that various memorandums were received regarding the issues, noted the time of 12:00 AM to 2:30 AM was recommended by the Historic Board that was felt appropriate because of the active late night and early morning life, and the presence of the street vendor would contribute to safety. The Board did not approve the umbrella with the Sabrett name on it, but gave the applicant approval to use a different red and white umbrella for 30 days only. President Donchez further pointed out that City Council must rule on the request to have signage on the umbrella.
Christopher Spadoni, City Council Solicitor, confirmed that he received the information today, and met with Mr. Morales briefly this evening before the City Council Meeting. Attorney Spadoni highlighted the fact that in the Zoning Ordinance Section 1310.02 (8) outdoor dining may be permitted between the hours of 6:00 AM and Midnight. Attorney Spadoni noted there appears to be a limitation in the Zoning Ordinance regarding outdoor dining, and he indicated to Mr. Morales if the time is perceived to be a zoning violation then the relief would be with the Zoning Hearing Board.
President Donchez inquired whether the Ordinance could be amended to include umbrellas with signage if it were the wish of City Council, and on the issue of the hours whether the matter would have to be sent to the Zoning Hearing Board.
Attorney Spadoni communicated it would appear that under the definitions and the usage it is clearly outdoor dining and the requested hours are outside of those stated in the Zoning Ordinance. Attorney Spadoni explained that, regarding the matter of the umbrella, City Council could proceed as President Donchez had suggested.
Ms. Dolan agreed that, while it is outdoor dining, it is a vendor cart that is under a separate Ordinance. Ms. Dolan recalled that when the Vendor Ordinance was passed it had been noted that the Ordinance could be revised as needed, and questioned whether the Zoning Ordinance would prevail in the matter of the hours.
Attorney Spadoni acknowledged the discussion was that the City was getting off the ground with the Vendor Ordinance and that it could be revised going forward.
Mr. Reynolds, observing that one could go to a drive in restaurant at 1:00 AM, felt that is a comparable matter. Attorney Spadoni commented that is not outdoor dining, however.
President Donchez asked, if there is a consensus to approve the umbrella with the signage, would it be possible for Attorney Spadoni to meet with the Administration on the separate matter of the time and return with a response to the Members of Council prior to the next City Council Meeting. Attorney Spadoni agreed that could be done.
In response to Mr. Reynolds, Attorney Spadoni affirmed that if City Council approves a Certificate of Approval the vendor would be allowed to operate.
Mr. Mowrer, highlighting the fact that this is high season for vendors, observed that if approval were not given tonight then the vendor would have to wait two more weeks before he could operate his vending business.
Mrs. Belinski pointed out that if approval is given to operate the vending cart then the applicant should be told what hour he has to close.
Attorney Spadoni restated that according to the Zoning Ordinance
Section 1310.02 (8) outdoor dining is permitted until Midnight.
Attorney Spadoni noted that Mr. Morales indicated to him that
Mr. Lezoche, Zoning Officer, differs in that opinion.
Motion – Amending Certificate of Approval
Noting that an amendment would be to this specific Certificate of Approval and not to anything beyond it, Ms. Dolan moved to amend the Resolution for Case No. 001 to state that City Council gives approval to use of the Sabrett sign on the umbrella. Mr. Reynolds seconded the motion.
Mr. Reynolds observed that the Historic Board can make recommendations but City Council would be able to approve something different. Attorney Spadoni affirmed that the Historic Board is only advisory.
Voting AYE on the motion: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The motion passed.
In response to President Donchez, Attorney Spadoni confirmed that he will review the matter of the hours of operation for the vendor and report to City Council for the next Meeting. President Donchez noted that, in the interim, the vendor will be permitted to operate until 12:00 AM but not until 2:30 AM.
Voting AYE on the Resolution, as amended: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The Resolution, as amended, passed.
E. Authorizing Grant Application – Wastewater Treatment Plant
Mr. Evans and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 2010-99 that approved the application for an H20 PA Grant of $4,976,245 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority to be used for the City of Bethlehem Digester System and Waste Activated Sludge Thickening Improvements Project.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The Resolution passed.
F. Approving Intermunicipal Liquor License Transfer – 2625 Easton Avenue
Mr. Evans and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution 2010-100 that approved the Intermunicipal Transfer of Restaurant Liquor License No. R-15545 owned by Woodland Hills Golf Course, Inc., formerly licensed to conduct business at 4166 Lower Saucon Road, Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania to Big Woody’s Pizza and Sports Bar, 2625 Easton Avenue, Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Evans, commenting that he thinks this is a good fit in the commercial zone, enumerated it is an investment in Bethlehem, will bring 50 jobs, it is non-smoking, will have up to 70% in food sales, and will be a restaurant to bring in families. Mr. Evans further pointed out that ingress and egress will be from the front as opposed to the back of the building near the Raider field facilities.
Mr. Reynolds expressed that he shares Mr. Evans’ sentiments, and felt that many would be happy to have a restaurant like this going into the location. Mr. Reynolds observed there is a lot of parking available at the site.
President Donchez, stating that he supports the proposal, also thought it was a good fit for the location and will bring jobs.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 6. The Resolution passed.
12. NEW BUSINESS.
Back-in Angle Parking
President Donchez commented that, as he stated in the past, he is personally not a fan of back-in angle parking and thought it was more of a hindrance. President Donchez expressed the hope that the back-in angle parking would be reconsidered for Main Street and anywhere in the City.
Proposed New Zoning Ordinance
President Donchez advised that he attended the public meeting on the proposed new Zoning Ordinance that was held at First Presbyterian Church last Monday for a short time and also attended the public meeting at Moravian College. President Donchez noted that the public made some very good comments. Stating that he discussed the matter today with Tony Hanna, Director of Community and Economic Development, President Donchez expressed the hope that the Administration would consider the comments of citizens who attend the meetings and to give them some ownership into the new Zoning Ordinance. In view of the list of suggestions made by the public, President Donchez suggested that important citizen comments could be incorporated into the proposed new Zoning Ordinance and one final public meeting be held perhaps in Town Hall or preferably on the West Side before the final proposal is submitted to the Planning Commission. President Donchez thought that several solid suggestions of citizens could be reviewed by the Administration and those that have merit could be included in the final proposal rather than simply compiling a separate list of citizen comments and suggestions and forwarding them to the Planning Commission. President Donchez asked that his comments be relayed to the Mayor.
Book by Gordon Mowrer
Mr. Mowrer noted he wrote a book about Bethlehem in the 1970’s, and particularly the Main Street developments, that he has available this evening.
Committee Meeting Announcement
Chairman Reynolds announced a Finance Committee meeting
on Monday, July 26, 2010 at 7:00 PM in Town Hall on a Bond
Issue and Budget Amendments and Transfers.
13. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR
Al Bernotas, 1004 Johnston Drive, noted his interest in the proposed amendment to Zoning Ordinance Article 1325.02 to increase the membership of the Zoning Hearing Board from three to five members, added this would lend diversity to the Board, said he would like to see members from all sections of the City, and expressed appreciation for the responsiveness of City Council on this issue. Mr. Bernotas also thanked President Donchez for his remarks about considering the incorporation of citizen comments into the proposed new Zoning Ordinance. Turning to the section in the proposed Zoning Ordinance pertaining to expiration of the terms of the Zoning Hearing Board members, Mr. Bernotas questioned how it would be workable and thought perhaps it should be modified so that at least two members’ terms expire each year. Pointing out there are no term limits for Zoning Hearing Board members, Mr. Bernotas wondered whether there should be a maximum term. Mr. Bernotas, noting the proposal states that the Mayor makes recommendations to the Zoning Hearing Board, thought that Mr. DiGiacinto seemed to be interested in pursuing having Council or the public make nominations, and added it would provide the opportunity for citizens who may be interested in volunteering. Mr. Bernotas expressed his opinion that Zoning Hearing Board members should serve without compensation, or leave it at $25.
President Donchez affirmed that the proposed new Zoning Ordinance will be reviewed by Members of Council in Committee. President Donchez confirmed that by law the Mayor nominates people to the Zoning Hearing Board and the tradition has been that any citizen can send a letter of interest to Members of Council or the Mayor or Administration and it is up to the Mayor to consider. President Donchez noted that he has forwarded names to the Mayor for consideration over the years. President Donchez confirmed that he has asked that a listing of the Authorities, Boards, and Commissions be placed on the City’s website so that interested citizens can notify the Administration or City Council.
Main Street Parking Project – Archeological Information
Bruce Haines, 65 W. Market Street, said he is speaking on behalf of the Hotel Bethlehem. Mr. Haines informed the assembly that when he made the comment earlier in the meeting that he supports the parking project on south Main Street he made an assumption. Noting the impetus for the additional parking came from the Moravian Book Store with strong support from the Hotel Bethlehem, and on behalf of the entire block of south Main Street, Mr. Haines notified the Members it was always his understanding that the parking project was going to enhance and in no way impinge upon anything in the Pottery or Smithy area or would in any way disturb the area. Mr. Haines stated from the Hotel’s point of view it is in their interest to preserve that very cherished thing in Bethlehem that allows the City to attract people to come here, and to try to immerse them in the history that is alongside and behind the Hotel Bethlehem. Mr. Haines thought the project was going to take place beyond the boundaries of either the Pottery or the Smithy and was not aware there could be possibly something in the area where the observation deck is going to be built or the parking spaces, or that any bulldozer would impact the Pottery or any potential thing. However, Mr. Haines highlighted the fact that what he is hearing tonight suggests that may not be the case. He expressed that Ms. Dolan had very powerful comments in that regard, and there is no reason not to slow down the project and look at where the historic elements are located so that neither the construction nor the ultimate product would in any way destroy it. Mr. Haines stated it would be worth the money to do that prior to any kind of approval or construction. Mr. Haines said he was personally asking for HARB input because he wanted to see the project slowed down, and wanted citizen input. Communicating he is not sure that Charlene Donchez-Mowers understood there may be some potential impact, Mr. Haines remarked he knows for sure he did not think so. Mr. Haines informed the Members that the Hotel would withdraw its support for the parking project if it meant that there would be any destruction of any historic elements there. Mr. Haines supported Ms. Dolan’s concept of slowing the project down, get full input, and do the necessary due diligence before anything happens at the site. Mr. Haines stressed that parking does not supersede the great historic areas that the City has. Mr. Haines advised that he recants his support if there is anything being overlooked, and added the issue warrants more discussion.
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, appreciated the comments about the proposed Zoning Ordinance and allowing the people who will be subject to the regulations take ownership, and added it is incumbent on City officials to take citizens’ comments under consideration. Mr. Grubb expressed his disapproval of the concept of back-in angled parking. Mr. Grubb remarked it was amazing how much work was done in the City in preparation for the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities convention held in Bethlehem last month, and felt the taxpayers deserve that treatment all year long. Mr. Grubb said he finds it interesting that the HARB had no way of issuing a Certificate of Appropriateness for the Main Street Parking project. Mr. Grubb remarked that Council approves Certificates of Appropriateness for many things, but watched many historic structures being demolished, and now a potential archeological site could be demolished. Mr. Grubb commended Ms. Dolan for taking a stand on the issue, and asserted that Council spent more time debating the umbrella for the hot dog cart than on the Colonial era archeological site. Mr. Grubb urged Council to step back for 30 or 60 days and put the money into unprogrammed funds so that the archeological site can be reviewed. Mr. Grubb expressed his disbelief at how the history in the community is sacrificed in the most expedient and ignorant ways.
Robert Pfenning, 2830 Linden Street, noted that the list of what will be done in the TIF project has not yet been made public and expressed his concern about the secrecy of the list. He thought that a large amount will go to support one particular non-profit organization. Mr. Pfenning commented that it looks like $22 million of taxpayer money will be spent on public infrastructure improvements in the TIF area, probably including the music pavilion, but he does not see public input in the process that he thought was bad public policy. Further questioning who will pay for the maintenance of the infrastructure, Mr. Pfenning said he intends to bring up the question during the Budget Hearings. Mr. Pfenning stated at some point there will be a request to modify the allocation formula of the TIF revenues, and commented that is the only way the public will get any benefit out of the economic development that has occurred in the TIF district. Mr. Pfenning pointed out that the Lucky Duck diner at Polk and Third Street that went out of business had a $35,000 City loan and only paid the City $2,000. Highlighting the fact that the collateral for the loan was the kitchen equipment that was left behind, Mr. Pfenning questioned why that was done, and asked how much rent the Steel Mill Bar and Grill, that located at the site but also went out of business, paid the City for the use of the kitchen equipment.
Bill Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, referring to the proposal to increase the membership in the Zoning Hearing Board, cautioned that Council should check the words it replaces. Mr. Scheirer pointed out that in that section of the proposed new Zoning Ordinance words have been deleted so that members of the Zoning Hearing Board are approved by the Mayor. President Donchez informed Mr. Scheirer that he has already sent a memorandum to the Administration regarding the wording. Mr. Scheirer told the assembly that Thomas Hylton, journalist and historic preservationist, agreed with him that Bethlehem has so much history but is casual about preserving it.
Eddie Rodriquez, 1845 Linden Street, stressed that the Monocacy Creek railroad ties are in very bad condition, cracked, loose, and dangerous, and asked that someone inspect it. Mr. Rodriquez added there are piles of rocks near Illick’s Mill that need to be cleaned up. Mr. Rodriquez expressed that he is not in favor of back-in angle parking. Mr. Rodriquez asked the City to get funding for security cameras. Mr. Rodriquez, stressing that in the 400 and 500 blocks of Pawnee Street there are many issues occurring because of drugs and trafficking, asked the Police Commissioner to have a camera installed there. Mr. Rodriquez observed there are horse droppings in the New Street area. Mr. Rodriquez asked that a fence and retaining wall be installed at northbound Center Street, in view of people approaching from the wooded area. Mr. Rodriquez said there is high grass at the Martin Tower area, and the parking lots at Third Street need to be cleaned.
Video Taping Council Meetings; HARB Opinion – Main Street Parking Project
Tony Simao, 1135 E. Third Street, asked if it is permissible to video tape City Council Meetings. Attorney Spadoni responded yes.
Mr. Simao asked why no one from the HARB is at the Meeting to address the issues about the Smithy and the Pottery at Main Street. Mr. Simao asked that a representative of the HARB attend the next City Council Meeting to give their opinion of the parking spaces and the area behind them.
Certificate of Approval – Vendor Cart – 15 West Fourth Street; Proposed Zoning Ordinance
Mary Pongracz, 321 W. Fourth Street, affirming she is a member of the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation Commission, highlighted the fact that the vendor went through all the necessary requirements as set forth in the Ordinance. Ms. Pongracz questioned why the members of the Historic Conservation Commission are being second-guessed, and asserted it is an insult to members of boards in the City. Ms. Pongracz pointed out that the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation Commission talked about the umbrella, and recommended there be no signage on the umbrella. Ms. Pongracz informed the Members that she questioned the time for the vendor to operate and was told the vendor is allowed to be open those hours. Ms. Pongracz, noting she attended a public meeting on the proposed new Zoning Ordinance last week, said she was offended by statements made that workforce housing is affordable housing for people like teachers and police officers. Ms. Pongracz confirmed that she has been involved with affordable housing for over 20 years, she knows what affordable housing is, and she knows what the requirements are. Ms. Pongracz pointed out she is an educator and lives on the South Side because she wants to, and is not eligible for affordable housing. Highlighting the fact that on the Zoning Map there is no indication for preservation areas, Ms. Pongracz noted this means when developers come in they are not aware there are certain conditions that must be met. Ms. Pongracz notified the assembly there is also a lack of notation about senior housing.
Main Street Parking Project – Archeological Information
Lanie Graf, 529 Heyer Mill Road, Nazareth, commenting it is unfortunate that the information presented tonight was not brought earlier, advised that is because the organization was not aware of the situation of the Main Street Parking project until a few weeks ago, nor were they consulted as employees of the Moravian Archives. Ms. Graf, saying she does not know why Charlene Donchez-Mowers has not offered more information, noted perhaps Ms. Donchez-Mowers is unaware of the report. Ms. Graf expressed the hope that in the future the City would consider working more closely with the organization that has the actual documents, maps, and records that go along with the downtown structures. Ms. Graf continued on to say that although Historic Bethlehem has a lot of information they do not have it all. Ms. Graf stated she hopes the City will consider the Moravian Archives as a partner in the future. Ms. Graf commended Ms. Dolan for taking a brave stand at this late stage and asking that the funding be set aside, and commended Mr. Haines for withdrawing his support for the parking project. Ms. Graf thought if one were to ask the downtown businesses if they want the area potentially destroyed they would say no, and added she does not think the downtown businesses or Council were aware of this before. Ms. Graf, reiterating there are several archeologists interested in excavating the site, stressed that a few months is not going to make or break the downtown economy. Ms. Graf communicated that in 20 years one will look back and see this was a mistake. Ms. Graf asserted that what brings people to Bethlehem’s downtown instead of going to the mall are the City’s historic structures, and noted that people walk further at a mall. Ms. Graf expressed that Administrations seem to give lip service to history. Ms. Graf hoped that the HARB in the future would speak out more against these kinds of things, and that the City’s Historic Preservation Task Force would take these matters more into consideration as they do future planning. Ms. Graf thought this project was more of a detriment to the downtown that in the future will actually hurt the businesses. Ms. Graf stated this is an unfortunate decision and said she wishes the Archives would have been more informed about the matter earlier so they could have brought more information to Council, and a different decision may have come about.
Leslie Holmes noted that she grew up in West Bethlehem and attended Moravian Academy where she was an honor student. Advising she owns a software engineering business called CyberSparrow Software, Ms. Holmes stated the company has done work for public radio, Silicon Valley companies, universities, and family businesses, and she helped found Free Speech Radio News. Ms. Holmes reported that on June 25, 2010 at 3:40 she entered City Hall from the library side, near the cashiers, and proceeded to the Police Department. Since she was concerned, she taped the meeting. After 5:40 minutes, an officer asked if she was recording, grabbed the phone, and proceeded to handcuff her, informing her that she was being arrested for taping the conversation. She had presented her business card when she began the conversation. She asked to see an attorney as the Officer removed her from the public room, and was informed that since the Officer had not asked her any questions yet she did not warrant one. Ms. Holmes asked what she was being charged with and was told that the Officer would let her know. Ms. Holmes further related that from 3:47-4:27 for 40 minutes she was detained, handcuffed to a metal bench, and the cuff was too tight and off alignment with her arm. At 4:30 she was dismissed. The Officer informed her that she should be more grateful in the future because he was just trying to be helpful. Ms. Holmes stated that she had mentioned a community review board during the first minutes of the conversation at the public room, and had assumed Bethlehem already had one. Ms. Holmes advised she would have preferred to have spoken to a community review board rather than have had the aforementioned encounter.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.