South Bethlehem Planning Study: “a proactive response . . . the answer to my prayers”

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City Council meeting, Nov 6, 2019, part 2
mins. 1:01:22 – 1:30:35

So what’s this South Bethlehem Planning Study all about?

The proposal sayeth its purpose is to “review current planning and zoning policies and ordinances in South Bethlehem and provide recommendations for revisions to address compatibility between new development and historic district ordinances and policies.”

In her interaction with Councilman Callahan the City Planning Director elaborated on that purpose in these ways: the study is an attempt “to answer some new questions for us about that type of development that we’re seeing in the Southside. Do our current ordinances and policies really support our goals and objectives? . . . how to balance demand for historic preservation and development.”

The PD spoke of anticipating future development, how to make development more compatible with surrounding areas, pointing out that some of our most liberal zoning is around historical districts, referencing in general some recent “challenging projects,” and indicating it would be helpful for developers to know exactly what we want.

Balancing historical preservation and development — O, Yeah!

Go down Memory Lane with Gadfly.

Remember the impact on Gadfly when at the City Council meeting May 22, Louis James, President of the South Bethlehem Historical Society, presented this polite but forceful letter to the Mayor and City Council in a likewise polite but forceful manner.


This letter hit Gadfly hard, he did a series of responses to the letter, and he has reprinted it several times since May 22, lest we forget.

Councilwoman Negron made an unusually long response of her own to that SBHS letter at the following Council meeting that Gadfly found very moving.

Go to min. 1:48:41 on the video.


It was this letter — the plea in this letter — that Gadfly thought of when he understood the purpose of the proposed South Bethlehem Planning Study.

Gadfly criticized the Mayor for a soft response to this SBHS letter, but he now wonders if that letter is at least partly behind the City’s proposal for this study.  For instance, Gadfly remembers Councilwoman Negron later alluding happily to a productive subsequent meeting with City officials and Southside people that she attended on this very subject.

In last night’s meeting, Councilman Reynolds indicated that the balance between development and historical preservation is “a question that a lot of people are talking about” — and that we need a “blueprint.”

Last night, memorably, Councilwoman Negron referred to this proposed study as “a proactive response” to her concerns, “the answer to my prayers.”

So what’s the beef?

One thought on “South Bethlehem Planning Study: “a proactive response . . . the answer to my prayers”

  1. I suppose it all depends on whether ‘what we want’ means what the administration wants or what the people want.

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