The Bethlehem, Pa., Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously, 4-0, yesterday to prevent a proposed self-storage facility from being built on the site of a former car dealership. Developer Bellante Properties had proposed a five-story facility, but the commission rejected the project, in part because it believed 24-hour access would create too much traffic in the neighborhood.
Bellante owner Vince Fantozzi argued the self-storage facility would create less traffic than the car dealership once did. The property has been vacant for three years. Fantozzi had proposed renovating the existing onsite structure in addition to constructing a new multi-story facility on the property.
“Being that it’s a property that has been vacant for a number of years and a blighted property, we feel this will be an advantageous use to the property,” Fantozzi said.
Local business owners had mixed opinions on how the proposed facility would fit into the area’s revitalization efforts. Bob Young, owner of Bethlehem Gallery of Floors, spoke in support of Fantozzi, commenting he believed the facility’s design would enhance the property.
The commission rejected the proposal anyway, with director Darlene Heller arguing the site is “easily developable for some other use.”