Bethlehem Press

Monday, July 13, 2020

BETHLEHEM PLANNERS - Lehigh expansion targets 3 buildings

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Lani Goins Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

The big item for city planners at their June 11 virtual meeting was a land development proposal for the property at 461 Webster St. Lehigh University wants to demolish three buildings and a parking lot to make way for an expansion of its College of Business and Economics. Attorney Steve Boell represented the university. He explained they were seeking preliminary final approval of their site plan. Robert Doulas and Kyle MacGeorge of Langan Engineering presented site plans, including for landscaping and ADA accessibility. The plan for the landscaping is less than the city requires for the size of the building. The university has agreed to pay a fee to the city in lieu of enough landscaping. It was also pointed out that the impervious coverage in the site plan is less than what is currently covered by the building and parking lot that will be demolished. ADA access ramps will be improved where the site meets Taylor and Packer streets, including the ramps on the opposite sides of the streets.

A motion was made to approve, contingent on a letter from April 6. Approval was unanimous.

Next the Bethlehem Housing Authority petitioned to waive the amount of space between a planned parking lot on Fritz Drive, and Stefko Boulevard, which runs parallel to the lot. The lot will provide parking and handicapped spots for 54 residents of the public housing on the site. Attorney Bill Matz explained that when the housing was constructed in 1942, the plan did not include parking, as most residents did not own vehicles at that time. They also detailed parking issues on the surrounding streets. The waiver was unanimously approved.

There were no public comments. The board briefly discussed upcoming development at Easton Road, Airport Road and Avenue A. It was noted there were no new submissions on the Martin Tower site plan, but the cleanup of the site is progressing.

The next next virtual meeting is scheduled for July 9, at 5 p.m.