Waldron still at city council reins
Mathias Fenstermacher, in a pre-regular meeting public hearing, asked that his property at 2015 City Line Road be re-zoned from CS (Shopping Center) to PI (Planned Industrial). He said he owns a 53,000 square foot building at that address and wants the option of leasing the property to a manufacturer. His application was supported by Director of Planning and Zoning Darlene Heller, who said the property had formerly been zoned PI and that she supported Fenstermacher’s request for re-zoning to CS.
Bethlehem City Council President Adam Waldron outlined his intended direction for the next two years as Council President and he thanked members for their support during the last two years of term as President. He was reelected to his office at the reorganization meeting in a close vote.
He said he will continue to encourage public comment. He gave himself credit for bringing live streaming meetings in the Rotunda. He said last term he had made an attempt to interact more with speakers. He said he would continue to “try to provide answers” or to “point people in the right direction.”
“I haven’t been deaf to the criticisms of my style,” said Waldron. He referred to his management style as having a “long leash” and “a soft gavel.” He said he would continue to “reflect on that and try to help guide the conversation in a more positive and more productive way.”
Waldron’s handling of comments by Council member Bryan Callahan made last year toward an administration official had prompted Mayor Bob Donchez to threaten to quit attending the city council meetings accompanied by his staff.
“I’m serious about my commitment to listen to members of council and getting their feedback on my management of meetings,” said Waldron.
Council is doing a pilot study in the use of tablet devices according to Waldron. The goal is “to reduce the amount of paper that we consume here.”
Holding up the hefty, bi-weekly printed agenda that is passed out to the city Council members and members of the administration plus copies for the public, he said, “That’s a pretty fat stack of paper that we’re putting out.”
Waldron said it is “an effort to be a little more environmentally conscious and take advantage of the technology that’s available to us and to be more conscious of the amount of paper that we are producing.”
In other business, Mayor Bob Donchez reported that he will give State of the City address April 2 at 7:30 a.m. at Arts Quest.
Committee assignments for the 2020 slate of council members was read out by Council President Waldron. Among the assignments were: Community Development Committee to be chaired by Councilmember Dr. Paige Van Wirt and includes William Reynolds and Grace Crampsie Smith; Finance Committee chaired by Reynolds and will include Michael Colón and Dr. Van Wirt; Human Resources and Environment will be chaired by Bryan Callahan and include Olga Negrón and Dr. Van Wirt; Parks and Recreation Committee chaired by Negrón with Colón and Callahan; Public Safety Committee chaired by Colón with Smith and Negrón as members; Public Works Committee chaired by Smith with members Reynolds and Callahan.
Waldron allocated the council member’s liaison assignments: Bethlehem Authority—Smith; Bethlehem Housing Authority—Colón; Environmental Advisory Council—Reynolds; Lehigh Valley Planning Commission—Callahan; Library Board—Negrón; Bethlehem Parking Authority—Van Wirt; Redevelopment Authority—Reynolds; Property Review Committee—Reynolds.