Summarized by Eric Bunker
Neighbors protest plans to build Mormon churchcomplex
Bethlehem PA Morning Call 25May99 C6
By Daryl Nerl: Morning Call
BETHLEHEM, PA - Neighborhood residents are protesting the planned
construction of a new building for the Bethlehem branch of the Church.
Area Church Officials unveiled plans last week for a 24,000-square-foot
church building; including classrooms, a cultural hall, and a 240-seat
chapel, all serviced by a 250-space parking lot. However, some neighborhood
residents told the Bethlehem Township Planning Commission they would not be
happy to see a house of worship built in their neighborhood, which they said
they thought would be exclusively quiet residential.
Their stated objection is that they don't consider a church to be a quiet
residential structure and are worried that the increased traffic flows in
the area will cause problems. However, despite the concerns of residents,
zoning and traffic issues are not a consideration in this application. The
land is already zoned for medium high-density residential use. This
classification could have allowed 40 to 50 townhouses on lots as small as
7,000-square-feet, which would have equally increased traffic flows.
Branch President Douglas Trotter said that his branch of 125 members has
been meeting at the Allentown Ward Chapel. The Bethlehem Branch was created
by a division of the Allentown Ward and is a part of the Reading