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During a blackout, Bethlehem zoning board denies appeals on apartment building project

Bethlehem City Hall
APRIL GAMIZ / THE MORNING CALL
Bethlehem City Hall
Author
UPDATED:

The Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Board meeting on Wednesday evening was stopped suddenly when the meeting room at city hall lost power because of the passing thunderstorm.

However, the board was able to complete one part of the agenda in the dark before adjourning: It voted 3-0 to deny appeals from developer David Ronca and Macada Partners for variances at 1800 and 1804 Calypso Ave. in the city’s West Side, where there are plans to build a 12-unit apartment building.

The three-story building that will have market-rate, two-bedroom apartments is planned for a vacant lot.

Several residents from the neighborhood were on hand to register objections to the project, preferring the site be used for single-family houses. Ronca said the lack of water and sewer lines to the site makes that economically unfeasible.

The variances Ronca sought included building a multi-family building in the single family residential zoning district, exceeding the maximum 2.5 stories, and reducing the minimum distance between parking spaces and multi-family dwellings from 15 feet to 10 feet.

The final item on the agenda, which drew its own crowd, was also in West Bethlehem at 312 Hanover St. It is an appeal on behalf of developer Ishtiaq Ali Saaem and Hanover Rauch LLC to complete a semi-finished space on the third floor by constructing a two-bedroom apartment atop a two-unit family dwelling and construct an addition that includes five two-bedroom and one one-bedroom apartments.

The applicant wants variances to reduce the required lot width of 90 feet to 60 feet; reduce or eliminate the requirement of a 15-foot buffer; and reduce the minimum aisle width for two-way traffic from 24 feet to 22 feet.

The board has continued the appeal to Aug. 28.

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