The Stram Center of Integrative Medicine was back before the Bethlehem Planning Board for final approvals so the facility can relocate to 90 Adams Place.
In February, the project received site plan approval so the sale of the building from the Bethlehem Central School District could move forward. The project was once again before the Planning Board on Tuesday, May 6, for a site plan amendment for signage and elevation plan.
“This is a great re-use of a building that’s been sitting there for a couple of years,” said Planning Board Chairman John Smolinsky.
Senior Planner Ken Kovalchik said the new sign is in accordance with town code and would be slightly smaller then what is currently being used at the holistic health facility’s site at 388 Kenwood Ave.
The plans call for 4,500 square feet of the property to be used as office space. The remaining 2,300 square feet would be used as office space or remain open for a possible expansion in the future.
Town staff proposed the removal of three parallel parking spaces that are in the town’s right-of-way, in order for sidewalk to eventually be installed along Hawthorne to connect to existing sidewalk. Two parking spaces near the front of the building would then be moved onto Adams Street. The owners are also proposing some further landscaping.
Kovalchik said as part of the renovations, the facility will take on a new look that is similar in character with the neighborhood. The building will likely be painted in hues of brown and will have large gables in the front and at the main entrance.
As part of the project, Stram has to provide money for the installation of crosswalks. The structure of the building will also take on a new look. The new elevation will not exceed 25.5 feet.
“There may be some shock, I suppose. Or not shock, but difference,” said Smolinsky, since the current building is only one story.
Some board members agreed. However, they assumed since the upgrades will be better aesthetically and the architects worked to make sure the building matched the character of the neighborhood, most people will be pleased.
Board member Leah Farell said the new structure might look a little imposing at first. “But because I think there’s an improvement in the design from what’s there, I think it will settle into the community,” said Farell.
Bethlehem school officials initially had trouble finding a buyer for the former district office building because it was thought too much effort would have to be put into updating the building, and the property sits in a single-family residential zone.
After the Bethlehem Zoning Board of Appeals failed to approve a use variance that would have allowed local daycare provider School’s Out Inc. to purchase the property, the school district opted to file a lawsuit against the town. That lawsuit was placed on hold while the Stram Center attempted to go through the same process.
Although a majority of the neighbors were against the proposed sale when the project involved School’s Out, a majority of neighbors are for the Stram Center because they no longer feel traffic will be an issue. They also thought a doctor’s office was a good fit because it would be similar to the character of the neighborhood.
“As we commented, I think it’s well integrated in the community and I look forward to the redevelopment of the building,” said Smolinsky.