(Latest in a series of posts on Bethlehem Manor and Neighborhoods)
In Gadville there are always two (or more) sides to an issue.
So let’s look at how the Bethlehem Manor argued for acceptance of their proposal.
The BM administrator stated that in the course of marketing the facility she determined a new demand for/discovered a market for a type of room that she didn’t anticipate and can’t currently satisfy: “a private room with a private bathroom.”
Now if someone wants a private room, she offers space in her other locations in Whitehall and Hellertown, but often location (they do serve families in the immediate Rosemont neighborhood) is key, and families want to stay in this area: “location is a huge factor.”
The Administrator spoke of the economies involved in adding a building to this location rather than opening another facility at a separate location and further stated that the proposed addition was necessary for her business to stay competitive.
Not very dramatic video, but you can begin to judge the character of the Administrator (and through her Bethlehem Manor) in her opening testimony on these subjects and several other subjects here:
Testimony from neighbors raised a series of problems running from cigarette butts to mosquitoes to traffic, and in her rebuttal the Administrator made a rather remarkable impassioned defense of her specific mission and the cause of the elderly in general.
Don’t skip this audio:
- “I know the neighborhood has not been impacted negatively, and it won’t be, giving us the honor of adding 54 more beds.”
- “We’re just asking for our residents to have a good quality of life too without hurting any of the neighbors or the neighborhood.”
- “They just want to have a good quality of life, hopefully they have 20-30 years, but some have 2 or 3, and they deserve that as well.”
- “They are equally as important. Just because they’re older and they’re in a personal care home does not diminish the fact that once they were home owners, once they were people more contributing to the community, but that should take away their desire and our need to give them a good quality of life.”
- “We want to be good neighbors, but, also, yes, we want to satisfy the market, which means satisfying the elderly.”
- “It’s not about just making the money.”
- “But it is hard if you’ve ever cared for someone elderly.”
- “54 residents in their rooms, in their building are not going to change anything for the neighborhood.”
- “I only request and ask that you give the other 54 residents . . . the honor and privilege of living their last years in a neighborhood that is very nice and they should deserve that.”
Were you expecting all that?
The Bethlehem Manor Administrator turns “quality of life” on its head. The personal care residents deserve good quality of life too!
Gadfly found the Administrator’s statement powerful. She defended her position with emotional vigor.
So the Zoning Board decision was not an obvious one to Gadfly.
Let’s go on to look at a few more aspects of the hearing.