Northampton County Executive John Brown has signed an executive order for a no-bid contract to study a new jail. The deal is with DLR Group, a nationally based architectural firm. In doing so, Brown sidestepped the competitive bidding required under the county’s Administrative Code. At council’s June 1 meeting, solicitor Phil Lauer ruled that it is a sole source contract with no competitive bidding, and hence is contrary to what is required under county law.
In a few weeks, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health will issue up to 12 permits for medical marijuana grower/processors and as many as 27 dispensaries. One of these may be in Bethlehem Township. At their June 5 meeting, commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of a medical marijuana dispensary in a flex building at 2467 Baglyos Circle.
DaVinci Science Center Executive Director Lin Erickson updated Northampton County Council June 1 on a 170,000 square-foot facility she hopes to build in Easton. It includes a science center, a 500,000 gallon aquarium with large view panes, an Aquarium Restaurant and with seating for 500, an immersion theater, a creativity studio or “Fab lab,” classrooms and offices. It is proposed at the Days Inn property on Third Street. That property is located in the floodplain.
Moravian College is currently in the middle of building a $23 million Health Sciences building at its Main Street campus. It’s a 55,000 square-foot three-story facility named after alumna Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz, and should be finished by July. But Mark Reed, vice president for finance and administration at the college, was before Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board May 31 to discuss a 2,500-square-foot restaurant also planned at the site.
Though the restaurant itself is permitted, Moravian needed permission for an exterior entrance facing onto Main Street.
In a unanimous vote during its May 18 meeting, Northampton County Council approved a new $6 million food service contract at the jail with GD Correctional Services. The contract is for a period of three years, with two one-year extensions. GD, the food service provider at nine other penal institutions, was selected as the low bidder among four firms submitting proposals.
In an effort to deliver natural gas more efficiently to its Lehigh Valley customers, UGI is planning to build a 98-foot high, 78-foot wide liquefied natural gas facility in Bethlehem at 2470 Ringhoffer Road on an 83.91 acre tract of former Bethlehem Steel land that is now part of Lehigh Valley Industrial Park. Represented by Allentown Attorney Tim Siegfried, company representatives were at the Zoning Hearing Board May 24 for a special exception and dimensional variances. So were Lower Saucon Township officials, who were represented by prominent environmental attorney Charles Elliott.
Bethlehem’s Planning Commission has recommended an expansion of the city’s Southside LERTA, a special tax zone in which increases in property assessments are gradually phased in over a period of years. The May 11 vote followed a presentation by Community and Economic Development Director Alicia Karner.
LERTA stands for Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance. Karner explained the program was adopted by the state in 1977. Bethlehem adopted the program in 1984 and has used it in the south and west sides.
You can buy a nice chiinti at Wegmans or Weis. But by a 3 to 1 vote at their May 9 meeting, Hanover Township Ssupervisors voted down the proposed transfer of a liquor license to a Turkey Hill gas station located at Sterners Way and Route 512. Mark Tanczos, who owns a beer distributorship, recused himself. The sole Yes vote was cast by John Diacogiannis. Jack Nagle, Steve Salvesen and Michael Prendeville voted no.
Developer Lew Ronca has agreed to completely reconstruct about a third of Brodhead Road in Bethlehem Township. He made this commitment in connection with a 513,000-square-foot warehouse distribution center he plans to build along the south side of Brodhead Road and north side of Route 22.
Most of the time, they are taken for granted. Sometimes they are maligned. But when you need them, they come without hesitation. These are our nation’s first responders. Our police officers, firefighters, emergency medical and management personnel. In their honor, Hanover Township dedicated First Responders Park on Airport Road Saturday, April 28. “Thank you, for turning towards things that most people run from,” said Hanover Township Supervisor Michael Prendeville, who conceived the idea of naming this park after them.