Editor’s note: the following was submitted as an open letter.
Dear Supervisor Messina:
We are writing to formally express our concerns about the proposed Wemple Corners Hamlet project before the October 17 deadline for comment.
• A project of this size and scope would inexorably change the character of this end of town. Bethlehem has always touted its diversity of neighborhoods, but this project would effectively eliminate a rural environment to replace it with dense housing.
• Has a study been done to show that there is really demand for a complex of another 470 apartments in Bethlehem? How will those apartments affect our school district, already one of the highest taxed in the area? It would be all too convenient to rent in the BC District for the duration of children’s education and then move on.
• Anyone who has ever been a landlord or a tenant knows that renters are never as invested in the community as those who are homeowners. Do we want to go down that path at the expense of the character of our community?
• Surely a round-about at the corner of Wemple and 9W would drive truck traffic away from 9W and down to River Rd./Route 144, a degraded and under-policed highway with a whole set of problems that have been unresolved. While that might be a plus for 9W, it would exacerbate problems elsewhere.
• Ironically, the vocal Open Space Program proponents at Town Hall on Wednesday waxed on about wanting their children to see horses and cows on the way to school, while the Wemple Corners Hamlet would eliminate just that sort of environment.
Each resident of the Town of Bethlehem moved here or stays here because of a particular quality of the neighborhood in which we live. Please consider the wishes of this neighborhood, not those of a developer.
Anthony and Barbara Burt