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Plans for 10-story hotel in Bethlehem Township put on hold

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 15 2012 10:37:02 PM CDT
BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. -

Dr. Atul Amin’s dream of making Bethlehem Township’s skyline slightly more prodigious will have to wait another month.

On Monday the Board of Commissioners tabled his vision to develop a commercial park highlighted by a 10-story hotel on Freemansburg Avenue at Emrick Boulevard until next month because of proposed changes that were offered too late for adequate review, according to township solicitor James Broughal.

“I recommend you table this resolution until next month,” Broughal said to commissioners, which they did moments later.

The Freemansburg Square Land Development project is a stone’s throw from Route 33 and is ambitious in both scope and nature. Last month Amin’s plan garnered Planning Commission approval and should Amin’s proposal gain commissioners’ approval in November, his focus would turn to securing a hotel franchise agreement for the structure that will serve as the anchor for the massive project that includes a 10-story parking garage, three six-story retail buildings, two five-story office buildings and a three-story bank and office building on just about nine acres of land.

In other business Monday night, commissioners heard the results of a study on the township’s volunteer fire companies by David Wolgom, associate director for public service for The Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Center at Lafayette College.

Providing a thorough analysis of both the Bethlehem Township Fire Company and the Nancy Run Fire Company, Wolgom’s theme to commissioners was that the departments can retain their autonomy, but can work better together for the good of the entire township.

“The goal is to see them as two halves of one whole,” Wolgom noted. “Not two separately standing companies.”

Bethlehem Township Fire Company responds to fire calls and also has 24 hours, seven-days-a-week EMS service, while Nancy Run is more of a traditional volunteer company that responds to fire calls, according to Wolgom.

During his presentation to commissioners he made several recommendations, which included more communication between the township, commissioners and fire officials, uniform internal auditing, the establishment of a fire relations committee that include members from all entities, and ultimately the establishment of an administrative structure that could “sit on top of the companies” once the other suggestions had been enacted.