Board approves Rotunda plaza sign
The City of Bethlehem received a certificate of appropriateness for proposed window signage for the outside plaza entrance to the Rotunda at 10 E. Church St. during the Historical and Architectural Review Board’s Nov. 7 meeting in the Rotunda. The commission unanimously approved a four-panel perforated window overlay installed on the outside glass for the two windows flanking the plaza access doors and the two above the doorway. Representing the project were Barbara Fraust and Vince Gentilcore from the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission. They explained the material is similar to what is used to wrap buses with, and the graphics are needed to attract attention to the art gallery.
Hotel Bethlehem’s Bruce Haines received a COA for a two-sided hanging sign and a building façade sign for 531 Main St. Each panel reads, “Hotel Bethlehem Executive Conference Center” in gold metallic vinyl letters on a black background.
The 2-inch thick fabricated aluminum building sign measures 197 by 28 and one-half inches fastens to the mortar joints on the second floor of the façade. It is illuminated by three black gooseneck lighting fixtures. Haines agreed to Fritz’s suggestion for stepped corners instead of scalloped to reflect the art deco style of the building. He also agreed to shorten the sign for a better fit. The two-sided, 42-inch by 15 and one-half-inch hanging sign is constructed of three-fourths-inch thick MDO and hangs underneath the sign of another tenant of the building, owned by Buxmont Academy. The vote was unanimous.
Haines informed the board that the second floor is being renovated into six suites, including the “Churchill Suite” and five others featuring the names of other former guests of the Hotel Bethlehem. Included in the project is the “Schwab Café.” Haines said, “It’s really a great, great space for expanding our meeting space from 14,000 square feet with an additional 5,000 square feet of meeting space.”
Mike Psitus from Express Signs, representing 79 W. Market St., scored unanimous approval for a 30 and one-half-inch by 12-inch wood hanging sign for Stark Financial Group. The two-sided panel is off-white with black and green lettering, logo, and black pinstripe. It will hang from an existing bracket on the corner storefront structure owned by Rudy Amelio.
As instructed at a previous meeting, Moravian College project manager Amber Donato returned with a revised color choice proposal for the Moravian Book Store awning fabric for 428-444 Main St. The blue fabric that matched the college’s logo had been considered too intense at the October hearing, although the color scheme for the building itself was approved. A COA was issued to Donato for her proposed powder blue for the fabric, with “Moravian Book Shop” in 6-inch powder blue-coated metal letters installed above each of the four awnings. Signage was approved for the arched area above the main entrance for “Moravian” in 10-inch black letters over “Book Shop” in 8-inch dark gray letters. All words are to be in a serif font to match the college’s logo. Since Donato had not provided measurements for the lettering, Chairman Fred Bonsall produced an architectural scale ruler to measure it on the scale drawing of the bookshop façade.
The vote was seven to one, with one abstention. “It was an incomplete application,” said Gen Marcon regarding her no vote. Fritz agreed with her, but voted yes. Derrick Clark recused himself from this one agenda item.
A COA was issued to Samantha Fingerhut for installation of a 6-foot cedar plank and lattice fence around the sides and rear of her property at 30 E. Wall St. Approval was also granted for a steel Bilco double basement door unit to replace the wooden one behind the two-and-a-half story red brick house she and Christian Barrett own. HARB also gave the thumbs up for her choice of pewter for the basement unit, some of the porch trim at the side of the dwelling, and the shutters on the front façade.
Representing 266 E. Wall St., Jenny A. Ramos was given approval for the revisions made to the railings and guards for the rear side stairs. “This is much better,” said board member Marsha Fritz. The commission had rejected the “modern-looking” railings and balusters at a previous meeting. The woodwork is to be stained beige to match the color of the front window trim. The brick house is owned by John Zawarski and is on a corner lot with the stairs visible from Linden Street.
Eileen Serratelli, representing the property she and husband James own at 403 Center St., was approved to continue replacing the deteriorating roofing with GAF Camelot II dimensional “antique slate” shingles. Serratelli explained that they had experienced major leaks during the last few heavy rain storms and needed to proceed quickly. Although the roofer had not installed the board-recommended Antique Slate GAF Slateline materials, the commissioners were impressed with the high quality slate-like shingles he had chosen. All agreed with Beth Starbuck, who said “Looks pretty good to me.” Vice Chair Philip Roeder suggested Camelot II dimensional “antique slate” shingles should be added to the board’s list of approved materials.
Roeder volunteered to contact the roofer to remind him to use copper or lead coated copper open valleys and flashings and discuss other concerns.
The vote for the last three proposals was unanimous.
The Historical and Architectural Review Board meets the first Wednesday of every month to review all exterior changes proposed to buildings in the Bethlehem historic district north of the Lehigh River. When a proposed project receives a certificate of appropriateness from the board, applicants must wait for city council to vote on it before proceeding.