Corning Hill residents want a re-zone

A group of residents has requested to change the zoning for five residential lots on Corning Hill off of Route 9W.

The Town of Bethlehem Planning Board recommended making the change to the Town Board at its Wednesday, Dec. 3, meeting, after hearing the requested zoning change on Wednesday, Nov. 19. The vote was unanimous.

The request calls for 6.1 acres of land on Corning Hill to be changed from residential A to commercial hamlet.

Michael Morelli, assistant director of economic development and planning, said the new zone could be used as a transition zone from a more residential area on top of Corning Hill to the business district at the bottom of the hill along Route 9W.

"There's five properties on top of Corning Hill Road adjacent to the Cumberland Farms that are requesting a re-zone," Morelli said. "There are a lot of zones over there and it would be a nice transitional zone."

Some of the zones in the area include residential, rural, rural light industrial and general commercial, he said.

There are four property owners for the five parcels being considered for a re-zone, and all four are in favor of the becoming a commercial hamlet for various reasons.

"It would allow the existing residents to continue living there but also create small businesses if they wanted to," Morelli said of the new zoning consideration. "The owner of the property next to the Cumberland Farms would like to have a traditional automobile garage where he could restore older and antique vehicles."

Morelli said the new zone could accommodate a small three-car bay garage for such a business.

Planning Board member Katherine McCarthy said the re-zone seems reasonable but that the public's input will be weighed before any possible action.

"It seems like a good plan but it's key to have those public hearings," McCarthy said. "I'm interesting in hearing what people have to say about the possible re-zone."

According to municipal law, both the Planning Board and the Town Board will have to hold public hearings before a new zone can be officially put into place. ""

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