You have to have one area of your city where architects and designers can be free to do what they want. I understand that Bethlehem will always be very prescriptive about what happens on the Northside, but I do not understand why Southside is subject to historic design rules at all.
Preserve key historic buildings, yes, but you can’t empower busybodies to veto every little design choice, that’s insane. Karen Dolan is right that that’s the commission’s task, but this episode really calls into question whether anybody should be tasked with doing this on Southside. If people can’t incorporate their own taste into their building appearance, and everything’s predetermined why would anyone want to invest in Bethlehem? Everybody talks about how Southside is becoming a “funky arts district” or whatever, so why not roll with that and let architects (who are artists too!) and entrepreneurs have some freedom to interpret the Southside as they see it?
That Bethlehem Council could potentially make this guy get a new garage door shows this thing has gone way too far, and it’s time to drastically scale back the Southside conservation district’s scope:
On Sept. 16, the commission voted 5-3 against the garage door because it is “too modern in character for this historically intact firehouse designed by A.W. Leh.”
According to the commission, the approved door for the building was supposed to be black, five panels high and six panels wide.
The door on the building is six window panels high but only four window panels wide. Those panels are in black aluminum frames.