Urgent! meeting tonight on future of Southside! 6:30 Please Zoom in!

The latest in a series of posts on the Southside

Zoom meeting

ref: What should the historic core of the Southside be like in 15 years?
ref: Christina Tatu, “Bethlehem wants to know from residents what they think the South Side should look like.” Morning Call, November 18, 2020.


More voices, more power; more “butts in seats,” more power. ūüí™

Tonight at 6:30 the City of Bethlehem is holding a meeting with consultants in efforts to shape the future of the Southside (visually, and economically). They want to HEAR FROM LOCAL PEOPLE¬† who live, work and play here, about what we¬†want the Southside to be: highrises, luxury housing, wine bars? Franchises and a “typical” college town circa 2020? New glass and steel structures? More of the New Street/3rd St Benner building?

(Did you know that currently you can build a 12 story building anywhere in the commercial business district of the Southside? Building height is one specific issue they say they want to hear about!)
OR¬†¬†do we believe that historical areas and buildings with “a sense of place” can be an economic driver (happy to provide some legit studies/articles about this)? Do we think that quirky and eclectic, artsy and funky, with a mix of smaller unique shops,international cuisine restaurants, clothing stores, and basic services that serve year round residents, tourists, AND college students would be our best focus to separate the Southside from more generic, “placeless” development?
  • what ifwe actually had Historic rules that were not “guidelines” but had sticking power, like in the Historic District on the Northside? (not “should” but “shall” language!)?
  • what if¬†we had Zoning Ordinances that supported the historic conservation district guidelines, rather than leaving the door open to challenges?
  • what if¬†we thought about our”gateways” to the Southside business districts in different ways, supporting different styles to allow some opportunity for higher denser development in one area, but preserving the historical vibe in others? Happy to share some ideas folks have generated in the past if you’re interested in what this means!
I hope you will be able to chime in tonight. Multiple and diverse voices are essential to get the ear of the city; I believe the city WANTS to support the historical eclectic Southside, but they need residents and folks who work and play on the Southside to voice their opinions. 
Thanks for speaking your piece!  Those who want to participate in the meeting can connect via Zoom with the meeting ID 952 3152 6460 (pass code not required); or by calling 301-715-8592. 
THANKS for caring!
Kim Carrell-Smith

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