NIMBYs Trying to Turn Downtown Bethlehem Into a Sleepy Retirement Community

Bethlehem City Council members supporting this ridiculous zoning amendment should be ashamed of themselves. Nobody in the rest of Bethlehem cares if some restaurant in the historic district can fry an egg, or if a restaurant can have alcohol, or if a barber can have 3 or 4 barber chairs. This is just not city business at all. When somebody says he thinks he’s entitled to gross infringements on other people’s property rights such as these, you laugh in his face, you don’t turn it into an amendment:

The way the amendments were worded made the board of commissioners to hesitate with passing the changes as written. Some restrictions include not allowing restaurants who serve alcohol, allow BYOB or fry food as only one criteria the new law would follow.

During the Thursday evening Bethlehem Planning Commission meeting, the commissioners denied council’s request for the wording of language in the altercations to the law.

The amendment, titled the reuse of corner commercial uses for the historical and residential districts, would limit possible store owners to the uses of the property. In addition to limitations on restaurants, tattoo parlors and pawn shops are also not allowed within the historic area.

The existing storefront of a building and past use of the building also will come into play when these businesses apply within Bethlehem. The amendment also limits the number of chairs in a barbershop, beauty shop, hair salon to two seats.

(Thanks: WFMZ)


  1. Jon let me address the title of this post– “NIMBYs Trying to Turn Downtown Bethlehem Into a Sleepy Retirement Community”

    You’re implying this would be a bad thing? So what if they did? “Downtown” is only one small section of the city. I’ve accused you many times of being biased against anyone older then yourself. How many times are you going to feel the need to reinforce my opinion?

    Revelers already have the “SteelStacks” area to party, rock out, drink and gamble all night. Downtown is historic in nature. Small owner’s shops commingle agreeably with what’s already there and are welcomed. Higher density models, you seem to favor, change the entire character of what sets Bethlehem’s apart. It’s what working for them. Allentown already had the tattoo & pawn shops downtown. It hasn’t worked in Allentown. Why would you want to inflict that on them?

    You went on to say, “..he thinks he’s entitled to gross infringements on other people’s property rights..”. Which is exactly what you are attempting to do to others who don’t agree with your ideas. Yet again with the derogatory name calling. Should they allow raves, hip hop clubs, auto parts/dealers, etc Where do you want to draw the lines?

    Following your logic there would be no Soho, Greenwhich Village, Chelsea or Upper West side in NYC. Each have their own uniqueness which you’d obviously abolish. These folks don’t want their areas to become downtown Manhattan anymore then the so-called “NIMBYs”in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is big enough for everybody’s lifestyles. Someone wants a tattoo parlor, pawn shop or a 10 chair barber shop perhaps South Bethlehem or the Western end of Broad Street or Union Boulevard would be a better place for them.

    Bethlehem’s Main & Broad Street areas remind me a bit of Cape May New Jersey. It too is extremely regulated so it doesn’t turn into another Atlantic City. So what if a couple of bocks are turned into a “Sleepy Retirement Community”? You don’t like it go somewhere else. Don’t force current residents to move or compel them to change just because you couldn’t stand living there.

    It’s more then high time to tone down your vitriol campaign against folks you call “NIMBYs” every time they don’t line up with your own visions.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Neighborhoods change all the time. There’s no reason a small group of rich people should be able to secure special protections for themselves and limit the growth of the neighborhood. Nobody wants to totally change that area of the city. All I’m saying is that people should be allowed to open eateries and other businesses in existing buildings by-right, with no political approval needed. If somebody wants to open a restaurant that serves wine in a building in the historic district, neighbors shouldn’t have any say on whether that’s allowed. And that’s because planners need to look at what benefits the whole city. Lots more Bethlehem residents would enjoy going to a new restaurant in the historic district than the people who would be bothered by that. The majority interests should prevail over the special interests.

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