BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. – Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners will vote monday out of 220 proposed apartments for Easton Avenue, not far from the 54 others already approved on the City of Bethlehem street side.
Wind-Drift Real Estate Associates is planning 220 units in the former Bethlehem Drive-In, on the south side of Easton Avenue. According to the township’s program, “the project consists of eight three- to four-storey buildings, a pavilion, a common open space, an internal road network, surface parking and detached garages, stormwater management facilities and related improvements on and off site.”
The land covers 14.5 acres within the planned commercial zoning district, which allows “garden apartments” as a conditional use. Conditional use is permitted, but the township can attach conditions to the plan that it could not for “right” use.
The old drive-in is just east of the Giant Mall on Easton Avenue. A small lot between the properties could become a Starbucks store, a developer said at an earlier meeting.
If approved, the Wind-Drift plan would mean that 274 units will be installed a few blocks away on Easton Avenue. Opposite the Giant, on the side of Bethlehem City Street, 54 units in two buildings have been approved.
The Easton Avenue section is already busy. Starting at the Stefko Boulevard intersection and heading east, drivers reach a traffic light at the entrance to the Giant Mall. To the left, at the former Kospia nursery, is where the 54 apartments will be set up on 2.7 acres.
Continuing east, traffic ends at the T-junction where southbound Butztown Road intersects with Easton Avenue. Making a left turn there is already difficult at times, with traffic backing up from the next T-junction at the Keystone Pub. The City of Bethlehem may place a traffic light at the Butztown/Easton intersection.
Even past the Easton Avenue/Willow Park Road junction, traffic also slows as drivers turn left onto Santee Road to reach three schools: Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Freedom High School, and East Hills Middle School.
The council agenda also includes a settlement agreement between the township and Steven J. Inc. regarding zoning and ordinance compliance at 4011 Wilson Ave.
The Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Municipal Building, 4225 Easton Avenue. The meeting will also be available via Zoom. Agendas are preliminary and subject to change. Check the municipality website for more details.