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For week ended May 30, 1999 Posted 4 Jun 1999

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Neighbors protest plans to build Mormon churchcomplex

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 Pennsylvania Stake.

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