EDITORIAL: Don’t shut out the School’s Out sale

We recently reported that the sale of the Bethlehem Central School District’s former offices on Adams Place to day care provider School’s Out, Inc., could be facing some serious hurdles.

This story out of the Town of Bethlehem might deal with a local issue there, but it is one that is fueled by an argument that touches many growing communities in which residents and businesses find themselves sharing space.

Many of the project’s stumbling blocks have to do with zoning. In particular, the district and School’s Out will have to prove to the Bethlehem Zoning Board of Appeals the change would not alter the character of the neighborhood before a variance can be granted and the $475,000 sale can go through.

That will be tough with many neighbors vocally opposed to the project. They’ve told the town there would be an unsafe spike in traffic and the quality of life for residents would be threatened. It’s undeniable School’s Out’s plans to build a playground and hold before- and after-school programs, as well as summer programming, for kids would be a change. But would it threaten this Old Delmar neighborhood?

The neighbors of the former administration building live in an area that, while entirely residential, sits a block from Delaware Avenue. The former admin building is just 850 feet from the busy Four Corners, as the crow flies. Closer still is the Delmar Reformed Church, which we would warrant draws quite a bit of traffic now and again, and not just on Sundays. Down the street on Adams Place sits St. Thomas, its school and the associated traffic, some of which goes up and down Adams.

Some residents speaking in opposition of the School’s Out project have said they chose to live where they did because they crave peace and quiet. Peace and quiet, after all, are two qualities that have made many parts of Bethlehem a poster child for suburban living.

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