Bethlehem Planning Board OK's condo plan

Timing is everything, especially in the construction business.

This old adage took on a whole new meaning for local developer Steve Bolduc of Keystone Builders after a divided Bethlehem Planning Board held a lengthy and lively debate about one of his projects on Tuesday, March 17. A board member sparked the discussion when he suggested Bolduc's project cut down on work hours during heavy construction and demolition periods for the sake of neighbors.

Bolduc plans to build 40 high-end condominiums on the current site of long-time florist Verstandig's on 445 Delaware Ave. He told the board it would be unfair to target his single project by requiring specific work hours.

Although all of the members voted to approve the proposal, Bolduc's project hasn't been without controversy and holdups. Neighbors in the area have been vocal about their concerns of storm-water runoff, lighting and traffic issues, as well as the length of construction and the noise that will accompany it.

The biggest hurdle to approval has been storm-water management on the site, according to Supervisor Jack Cunningham.

"I've been following this project internally with the planning department," said Cunningham, who attended the meeting because he "wanted to see if there were any other concerns or hang-ups."

The supervisor said Bolduc's plans fit in with the town's comprehensive plan and that he wants to see the project move forward. He said he's only received positive comments, such as when will it be built and how much will it cost.

"I think it's a big plus for the town," said Cunningham. "We've really been looking for ways to diversify housing in the town and this is a first step towards that."

The debate over work hours began with board member John Smolinsky.

"It seems to me there could be some mitigation of noise by changing the work hours," Smolinsky said. "I suggest a later start in the morning hours."

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