First reading of ordinance prohibiting conversion therapy within the city
Owners of a historic mansion at 114 W. Fourth St. were denied a certificate of appropriateness Wednesday when Bethlehem City Council voted to uphold a recommendation of denial by the Historic Architecture Review Board. Plans for the circa 1885 Grace Mansion called proposed renovations which would have added six townhouses on the historic properties.
Council voted 6–0 to uphold the HARB’s recommendation. Council President Adam Waldron was absent, so the vote was unanimous among present members.
In other business, council tentatively approved in a first reading a mental health ordinance to prohibit so called conversion therapy from being practiced within the city limits of Bethlehem. The council gave its first reading approval citing studies by several professional health and psychiatric organizations that have found that “being lesbian, gay bisexual, or transgender is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming” and that conversion therapy “can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons.”
Conversion therapy is treatment administered in an effort to change an LGBTQ person’s sexual orientation. The formal vote on the issue will likely be at the next regular meeting.
Also approved was a tentative or first reading vote to permit to ArtsQuest for a Fourth of July celebration planned for 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. The celebration will be on First St. to Polk St. to the eastern end of Founders Way and from Second St. to First St.
City council also tentatively approved an ArtsQuest request for a Latino festival, Sabor! scheduled for June 22 and 23. The celebration will be held on First Street to Polk Street to the eastern end of Founders Way and from Second Street to First Street.
ArtsQuest also got a tentative or first reading vote approving a permit from council for a Pizza Fest at the same location scheduled for June 30 from 1-7 p.m.
Final approval for several permits were granted by the Council: ArtsQuest’s Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley for June 1-3; Holy Infancy Church’s Portuguese Heritage Celebration scheduled for June 8-9 and for a Multicultural Festival scheduled for June 15-16; and McCarthy’s Irish Pub’s Fergus McCarthy’s Birthday event June 9.