An ordinance that would amend the South Whitehall Township Zoning Code to preserve the historic King George Inn and spur commercial redevelopment was introduced to the South Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners during their Wednesday night meeting.
Described as a "win-win situation" by Howard Kutzler, the township's director of administration, the ordinance would create a Historic Structures Overlay District to protect the building from the wrecking ball.
In addition the township's zoning code would be amended to allow developer Atul Patel, one of the principals of Hotel Hamilton LLC, to build an extended-stay hotel on the property, which is currently not permitted by code.
In addition the developer would erect a branch bank and retail center and demolish the former Burger King restaurant and Carvel Ice Cream store on the property that rests on the northeast corner of the intersection joining Hamilton Street and Cedar Crest Boulevard.
"This is excellent," said president Christina Morgan of the turn of events.
The excellent news was the result of discussions between the township and Patel, according to Kutzler, that in large part were the result of an outcry among activists to preserve the structure that was built in 1756 and placed on the national register in 1976 as a historic site.
Since 1970 the site housed a popular restaurant before closing in 2012.
Commissioners voted 4-0 to formally recommend the amendments to zoning ordinance be moved to appear before the township's planning commission and the advertisement of a public hearing regarding the matter.