Bethlehem Township: Board open to distributor plan
Last month, Bethlehem Township's Zoning Hearing Board denied Marcus Dixon's dream of establishing a small retail beer distributor business at 3801 Nazareth Pike, just outside the K-Mart Shopping Center. Chairman Stephen Szy, speaking for the board, denied a requested variance, a zoning remedy that enables zoners to vary slightly from the strict requirements of a zoning ordinance.
"The law is the law," Szy said.
But Dixon might get his wish anyway. His attorney, Erich J. Schock, pitched the project to the township commissioners at their Feb. 4 meeting, explaining that the property existed long before the shopping center that surrounds it.
"Please let us catch up because you let everything else build around it," he explained. "Every retail use in the world is allowed."
Commissioners urged Schock to move ahead with a petition for a change to the zoning ordinance, promising to keep an open mind.
President Paul Weiss, who had attended the ZHB meeting the previous month, explained that zoners felt compelled to deny the requested variance because they do not set policy.
"The policy makers are the commissioners," explained Weiss. "I thought it might be something to take a look at and consider."
In other business, mother and scout leader Jennifer Wooley raised concerns about a DUI center proposed at the township's Coolidge Building, where her scout troop and other community organizations regularly meet. She was concerned that the 20 children in her care would occasionally be exposed to drunk drivers.
Manager Howard Kutzler explained that the building will be partitioned and that there would be separate rest room facilities for the DUI center. He added that there will even be a separate parking lot and a privacy fence.
After speaking to Police Chief Daniel Pancoast, Wooley said her concerns were addressed.
"I'm just being a parent," she added. "I just don't think children should see that."