BETHLEHEM The Bethlehem Zoning Board of Appeals has denied a use variance that would allow the Bethlehem Central School district to sell its property at 90 Adams to daycare provider School’s Out, Inc.
The decision was made on Wednesday, April 17, in a room filled with neighbors of the property. The issue has been before board since February, and two public hearings were previously held to allow time for those on both sides of the issue to air their concerns.
“I want to thank everyone for their participation. I've been doing this three years and this has certainly been one of the more interesting issues, and one with the most information to consider,” said Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Dan Coffey. “This was a very tough decision.”
Neighbors argued increased traffic due to buses and parents dropping off students at School’s Out would lead to an unsafe environment. They also said quality of life would diminish for residents and the move would destroy the unique character of old Delmar.
School’s Out had been looking to move because they said more space was needed than at their current location at a storefront on Delaware Avenue.
In December, the BC Board of Education accepted an offer from School’s Out to buy 90 Adams Place for $475,000. The 6,850-square-foot property had been on the market for nearly a year with a $650,000 asking price, but the price was dropped to $575,000 after little interest was shown in the building.
The district had been seeking an adaptive reuse interpretation from the ZBA, and if that failed, a use variance. The area in question is zoned residential, but the building was built in the neighborhood before the town had a zoning statute. An attorney speaking on behalf of the district had claimed a variance would not be needed because the property would still be used for educational purposes.