Bethlehem Planning Commission members are set to review two South Side development proposals that could significantly change the appearance of their respective neighborhoods as well as increase traffic on heavily-traveled routes 378 and 412.
At the BPC meeting, which is scheduled to be held virtually on Thursday at 5 p.m., planners will first consider a proposal to build a Wawa convenience store and gas station on 1.8 acres at 774-784 Hellertown Road.
The Rt. 412 property includes the former Chris’s Restaurant and is located near Saucon Park, between the busy I-78 interchange and Bethlehem’s Wind Creek Casino.
According to the meeting agenda, the proposed Wawa would be 5,585 square feet in size, with eight gas pumps located under a canopy and 55 parking spaces.
Another proposal before the planning commission could significantly alter the appearance of the Five Points intersection at the opposite end of the city’s South Side.
The proposal is for the construction of an AutoZone retail auto parts store at the corner of Wyandotte Street (Rt. 378) and Broadway.
If approved, it would require the demolition of a vacant auto service garage, three residential buildings on Broadway and two accessory buildings, according to the agenda.
Four lots would be combined to create a single parcel that is approximately 25,000 square feet in size.
The AutoZone would be built to include a parking lot, but the agenda doesn’t specify either the size of the proposed lot or the building.
The buildings that would be demolished are zoned Central Business District (CB) but are not part of a CB-zoned historic district that includes another corner of the intersection.
Traffic concerns may also be discussed at the meeting.
According to the city’s 2008 comprehensive plan, under Transportation (page 9), “Bethlehem’s most serious traffic congestion is in the Five Points vicinity, such as on Wyandotte Street and Broadway; in the vicinity of the Hill-to-Hill Bridge; and on adjacent parts of 3rd Stret and 4th Street.”
Between 2003 and 2006, there were 34 vehicle accidents at Broadway and Wyandotte Street, according to a list of the city’s 11 most crash-prone intersections included in the polan.
The Five Points intersection had the second highest number of reported crashes during that period.
Another item of note on it involves Stefano’s, a landmark Italian restaurant in the 2900 block of Linden Street in the city’s northeast.
Proposed for the site are a new restaurant building as well as a four-story, 61-unit apartment building at the rear of the property.
The existing restaurant building would be demolished.