Please support the residents of the 1st Terrace neighborhood at the Zoning meeting June 26

(The latest in a series of posts on the Southside and Neighborhoods)

We last saw Kim Carrell-Smith on these pages in her role organizing the Great Southside Sale 2019.

ref: The Planning Commission couldn’t find its “No”

Yes, Gadfly, we need to mount up. But not just the immediate neighborhood, although that is important. But EVERYONE in our city needs to be concerned about the way developers are bypassing city ordinances. The developer’s lawyer said at the last Planning Commission meeting that they are seeking “small variances.” SMALL?? Check out the percentages of steep slope and impermeable surfaces they are asking for and compare with the ordinances they are seeking to bypass! This is about environmental damage and quality of life in the First Terrace neighborhood . . . aside from the other obvious issues of serious traffic problems and inadequate roads and parking, as well as scale of the project, noise, and housing a total of 40 students, where four houses stand today. But if ZHB only wants to hear about steep slope and impermeable surfaces, those issues are egregious enough.

ALL CITIZENS of Bethlehem should be concerned about this. Although we are told there are no such thing as precedents with these kinds of decisions (that’s what we’ve heard from Planning Commission folks, ZHB, and others), we have definitely heard the same folks say, “well, we did this for the __ project, so I guess we have to do it again for this developer, or they could sue us.”

Is that the way we want our city to function? I don’t live in the First Terrace neighborhood, but I see what may happen to neighborhoods on the Southside, OR North, when developers with deep pockets can come in and bypass our city laws, which exist for good reasons and are the will of the people of our city. The developers have the lawyers; residents don’t, and won’t, unless they can find themselves some deep-pocketed supporters; that’s not happening on First Terrace.

Please support the residents and other speakers on June 26 [Zoning Hearing, 6pm, Town Hall]; just stand up in the audience when they speak! Don’t let the Zoning Board think that no one cares about this kind of thing. You should, and I think you would if it were your neighborhood . . .


Gadfly was “nonplussed” at the lack of courage by the Planning Commission on this 1st Terrace case last week.

One thought on “Please support the residents of the 1st Terrace neighborhood at the Zoning meeting June 26

  1. Kim is absolutely right with her assessment. If you chip a piece of marble off of a statue in a less obvious location, most wouldn’t notice it. But, when you chip a piece of the nose, and then another chip, and then another chip, etc., pretty soon you won’t have that magnificent piece of art.

    This is exactly what is happening in Bethlehem, a chip here, a chip there, but no holistic approach that says enough is enough because each of those chips contributes to destroying the original. Whether it’s a marble statue or a community, how much can be absorbed the integrity of the statue or character and quality of life of the community are lost? And, how many of these citizens who are appointed  on the ZHB and PC are ever directly impacted by the decisions they’ve made? A rhetorical question. When I was the City’s deputy director of community development, I was constantly stressing to staff to treat each situation as if you lived next door, or your parents did. Bethlehem’s residents need public appointees and officials to put themselves in others’ shoes, and show some empathy and consideration. Empathy and consideration are currently lacking greatly in Bethlehem’s processes and in some very key employees, and that contributes to a declining quality of life and civility. 

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