Bethlehem’s Wind Creek Casino may get a little competition from a convenience store a few miles to the north.
The proposed Royal Farms store and truck stop at 2355 Ave. A, off Airport Road and north of Route 22, would have five video-gambling terminals. State law permits machines for video poker and slots at truck stops, but the plan faces several hurdles.
“They have a long way to get before they get approval,” Darlene Heller, Bethlehem’s director of planning and zoning, said Thursday during a virtual Lehigh Valley Planning Commission meeting.
The site, a former armory, is in a commercial zone where Bethlehem does not permit truck stops. In addition to casinos, state law allows video-gambling machines only at truck stops, not at convenience stores. Anyone of age can use the machines, not just truckers.
“We have a lot of concerns about the traffic,” Heller added. LVPC Chairman Greg Zebrowski agreed. The site is across the street from the Lehigh Valley International Airport, and he said that adding another high-traffic use would “put more stress on a stressed area.”
The planning commission, which reviews major regional developments, also said that there are concerns about vehicles idling and overnight parking. The final decision on development will be up to the City of Bethlehem.
In addition to the convenience store and truck stop, Royal Farms plans 20 tractor-trailer parking spots and a car/truck wash. Royal Farms is a privately owned, Baltimore-based chain of more than 200 stores. The chain’s signature meal is fried chicken. There are no Royal Farms locations in the Lehigh Valley.
The LVPC also expressed concern about Colts Run II, a proposal for 296 homes on 250 acres in Lower Nazareth Township, Northampton County. Much of the acreage, off Hecktown and Green Pond roads, is in an area designated for farmland preservation.
Planner Jill Seitz said that the development would generate an estimated 2,389 additional weekday vehicle trips, and potentially affect a stream that runs into Monocacy Creek.
LVPC member Malissa Davis said that Bethlehem Township, just south of the development, would suffer from the increased traffic. She also questioned whether Green Pond Road can handle more vehicles. Davis is a Bethlehem Township commissioner.
The planning commission will meet June 25 at 7 p.m. virtually. Instructions for attending can be found on at lvpc.org.
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