Generic Bethlehem Township sign

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - Nearly a half-million square feet of corporate building space off Route 33 has been given the green light by the Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners.

The conditional-use application for Mill Creek Corporate Center was submitted earlier this year by PC Land LLC.

Plans call for the construction of four flex industrial buildings on 62 acres of land along Route 33 and Church Road.

The buildings will range in size from 70,000 square feet to 176,000 square feet, totaling 500,000 square feet, according to the plans.

Currently, the land is zoned for office and rural residential. Construction is expected to be completed by 2022.

On Monday, the commissioners unanimously approved the application with several conditions, including submission and approval of a land development plan.

Additionally, PC Land will have to provide clarity of what constitutes a trip for tractor-trailers that will be traveling in and out of the property, and provide a count for those estimated tractor-trailer trips to and from the property.

A trip, the condition states, should constitute both incoming and outgoing travel as an individual trip.

Access to Church Road is also limited under the conditional-use approval.

PC Land will also have to provide a cross-section visual map and architectural renderings of nearby residential properties for the land development stage approvals.

The commissioners also prohibited warehousing as a primary use on the property.

With regard to proposed walking trails on the land, the commissioners called for trails to be open from dusk to dawn and the maintenance of open spaces, basins, ponds and walking trails to be the responsibility of PC Land.

A second hearing on the application had been held in July but a final decision had been postponed until Monday after the July virtual meeting on Zoom was disrupted.

Fireworks ordinance

The commissioners, during Monday night's virtual board meeting, also introduced an ordinance that would limit fireworks displays and penalize violators.

“I hope this does something to give the police a little leverage at least,” said board President Michael Hudak. “I know they’re trying.”

The ordinance, introduced by Hudak, would limits fireworks displays to the following days and hours:

  • Memorial Day, July 3, July 4 and Labor Day - from 4 to 10 p.m.
  • Dec. 31 - from 7 to 11:59 p.m.
  • Jan. 1 - from midnight to 12:30 a.m.

“There have been a lot of complaints about people shooting them (fireworks) off all hours of the day, most of the night,” Hudak said. “This ordinance will limit the fireworks to the following days and these days only.”

The ordinance also calls for issuing a summons to violators, with a fine between $50 and $1,000, at the discretion of the local magisterial district judge.

The ordinance also calls for issuing a summons to a property owner or tenant who “permits the use of fireworks or also commits a summary offense.”

They would also be fined anywhere between $50 and $1,000, with applicable costs at the district judge’s discretion.

Commissioner John Gallagher questioned if a property owner should be fined if they were not aware of a violation in spaces such as parking lots of a store or church.

“The owner may not be aware that they’re shooting off fireworks,” Gallagher said. “I hate to the punish the owner and they don’t know what’s happening.”

The township solicitor saying that situations like that would be up to the local authorities and district judge to determine.

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