Historic Commission grants approval to walk-in
Bethlehem’s Historic Conservation Commission began its regularly scheduled March 21 with a for a sign at 821 East Fourth St., owned by DG Commons LCC. Applicant Michelle Thorpe was seeking to have a 50-inch-wide by 33¼-inch-high window sign for her Above & Beyond Care Learning Center.
HCC is charged with the task of determining if new signs or other alterations to a building’s exterior would be an appropriate fit for the neighborhood. The proposed signage, composed of vinyl stickers for the logo graphics of storks and building blocks in addition to vinyl letters for the business name, would fit into a 64-inch-square front window.
Board member Christine Ussler suggested that the sign be reduced to an area 42 inches wide by approximately 20 inches high centered in the window and further suggested that the business hours and contact information posted on the door be with numbers and letters that were no more than 1-inch-high with 2 inches of clear glass on each side.
Thorpe’s proposal was approved for a “Certificate of Appropriateness” as long as there was 10 to 11 inches of clear glass on either side of the display window business sign graphics.
Next on the list was A-List Salon located at 128 West Fourth St. in a building owned by Bruce Campbell. Represented by business owner Andrea DeJesus and attorney Matt Trante, they were accompanied by Jeff Kicska of And The Sign Says LLC. A proposal to install a pin mounted flat acrylic sign on the building’s façade was put before the board. The HCC found the stud-mounted black letters and gold scissors graphic too tall for the space because the signage came in contact with the architectural panel frame. It was then agreed to reduce the height of the sign to 32 inches to allow 2 inches of clearance above and below the sign graphics within the panel.
The commission approved the revised application.
The third property listed in the agenda was a revised proposal for 711 East Fourth St., owned by Louis Calixto. Kubyran Dovett and Rosean Dovett representing Annie’s Beauty Supply returned with a detailed graphic of their proposed 10-foot-wide by 2-foot-high sign for the front of the commercial structure. The reworked proposal featured the business name and phone number with hair dryer, comb and scissors graphics all placed over a multi-colored background graphic of a woman with flowing hair.
Incorporating the Bethlehem HCC’s previous suggestion to include a pinstripe border around the perimeter, the new sign would fit within an existing box sign at the property. Christine Ussler mentioned that the sign was hard to read because the background art was too busy. She suggested that background art should be kept simple and the lettering for the business name be changed from a sans serif lettering to a serif font like Palatino to make it easier to read. Ussler presented these in a printout of her suggested revisions to the sign.
Approval was granted to the revisions, as well as keeping the hair dryer, comb and scissors graphics in the sign, with the stipulation that a revised cut sheet from the sign maker be emailed to the board.
John Prokopovich attended the hearing as a “walk-in.” Although his property at 226 East Third St. wasn’t listed in the agenda, the board decided to review his well-detailed application. He proposed the signage for his Steel Nutrition business with a logo made of vinyl decals be placed on the glass of the storefront window, along with a white background that would obscure the entire window pane. He cited rules made by his parent company Herbalife that required privacy for their clients. Since that wouldn’t fly for a historic district, Christine Ussler and other members of the board suggested that instead of the white background, a translucent “etched glass” film background would be applied to the front window. All agreed that this solution would keep the signage within compliance while still maintaining Prokopovich’s customer’s privacy. The business logo “Steel” would be rust colored with black bolts and “Nutrition” would be in Herbalife’s trademark green. The front return window, door and transom would also have the “etched glass” look as well.
Approval was granted, pending review of a sample of the “etched glass” film or, as Beth Starbuck mentioned an alternate name for it, “ground glass.” Prokopovich also agreed to have his sign maker send in a color copy for the board to look over.
Afterward, Craig Evans volunteered to serve on a committee to develop a “Memorandum of Understanding” for the Turn and Grind Shop, located behind the visitor’s center on the SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus. Also involved in the project are the South Bethlehem Historic Society, the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority, and personnel representing Northampton County.
The BHCC then discussed issuing “Certificates of Appreciation” for residents and business owners who have successfully rehabilitated their properties for the upcoming “Preservation Month” of May. It was agreed that Bank of America on East Third Street, St. Bernard’s RC Beneficial on Brodhead Avenue, C-Town Supermarket on East Third Street and a residential property on East Fourth Street in the 200 block, receive awards at a future city council meeting.
Just before they adjourned, board member and resident Ken Loush lamented that there is a property in Mount Airy that is undergoing “demolition by neglect.” Chair Philip Roeder suggested that those kinds of properties be brought to the attention of the city’s chief building inspector, Craig Hynes.