Good news that Bethlehem city council passed the new zoning ordinance over NIMBY objections, but I would’ve preferred to see the new ordinance go even further, with a form-based code that doesn’t address *uses* at all.
Section 1304.04 that the NIMBYs are flipping out about doesn’t go far enough.
Not only should businesses be allowed to use whatever buildings they want – not just “corner buildings” – they should be allowed to do so as-of-right, without any political approval needed.
There is absolutely no broader public interest in maintaining any part of the downtown area as a purely residential neighborhood. It should all become mixed use over time.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with a corner bar in the neighborhood. Downtown “wants” to be an entertainment cluster. If more liquor licenses were available, you’d see more bars and restaurants opening. And that would be awesome. It might be something of a nuisance for the immediate neighbors, but that’s the trade-off with wanting to live in the center of the action.
The trade-off city council would be making in ceding the “no neighborhood bars” point to the NIMBYs would essentially be accepting a suckier downtown with fewer businesses, in order to preserve a fully private benefit for a handful of wealthy people. Sacrificing a broad public benefit for a narrow private benefit.