The new date for the college’s appeal with Easton City Council will not be determined until January of 2018.
Easton City Council voted 7-0 in favor of allowing the college an extension for appealing their plans for expansion for the proposed mixed-use dormitories on McCartney Street, council member Peter Melan said. The vote occurred on Nov. 3.
“There was a genuine concern about the timing of [the council meeting]. From what I understood, the college wanted some extra time to prepare for it. I think we, as a council, may have rushed a little bit,” Melan said.
“So I think everyone just needed a step back [so that they could have their time]. We created some new rules and regulations just for this specific hearing, so I think we all decided it would be best to [grant extra time],” he added.
Melan said that it is only fair that city council would grant the college more time to prepare for their arguments. However, Lehigh Valley Live reported some college hill residents are concerned that the resolution the council passed wasn’t done according to proper procedure and “violates the due process rights of residents.” The fifth amendment of the Constitution, containing the due process clause, says that no citizen shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”
This delay will provide the college time to put their proposal together, he said.
“It gives everyone more time to do what they want to do now,” Melan said. “They’ll [now] get two months of extra time to do their due diligence, get their evidence together and present it [to the council meeting].”
“I think the claims we’re hearing is that we didn’t notify people in enough time,” he added. “We do our due diligence and we notify the public as we are required to by Third Class City Code, as recommended by the legislator.”
While the college did not ask for a specific amount of time to prepare for the appeal, Vice President of Finance Roger Demareski said they did ask for an extension.
“The [college] asked for a postponement so we have the appropriate amount of time to fully address the points raised by the Planning Commission. We continue to prepare, however, we were not in a position to ask for a specific date,” Demareski wrote in an email.
Demareski wrote that the college took residents into account while forming plans.
“We have been working with the residents since the very beginning of this project which began almost 18 months ago. The postponement does not change our commitment to work with them and be as inclusive as possible,” Demareski wrote in an email.
While the appeal date itself is yet to be set, Demareski wrote the demolition necessary for homes in the expansion zone is still planned to occur in spring of 2018.
“We allotted the right amount of time for the approval process and we remain within that timeframe.”