(51st in a series of posts about 2 W. Market St.)
Barbara Diamond enjoys retirement as Lehigh University Director of Foundation Relations by engaging in various activities and organizations hopefully for the betterment of the community. Her particular interests at the moment are preventing gun violence, local government ethics reform, and Bethlehem Democratic Committee work.
A Lost Neighborhood recounts how a powerful entity, Lehigh University, muscled its way into the surrounding neighborhood, used questionable maneuvers, and ended up damaging a vibrant community. The home owners fought hard but in the end were no match. Sounds familiar. Stephen Antalics’s remarks regarding both 2 W Market and the airbnb issue are powerful reminders that zoning/land use decisions, even something as seemingly insignificant as changing one word, can have devastating results. Those of us who oppose commercial intrusion in our residential neighborhood prevailed in court, but land use/zoning issues are notoriously susceptible to politics. The Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg was unlikely to be influenced by the fact that Mr. Rij is a well-connected donor to the city. That is not the case here.