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Hotel, villas, spa plan in Bethlehem Township meet resident opposition

Frinzi property in Bethlehem Township
Jim Deegan
The building on the old John Frinzi Realtors property at 4401 William Penn Highway in Bethlehem Township. A 34-room hotel, a restaurant and villas are proposed for the nearly 10-acre property.

BETHLEHEM TWP. — A proposed 34-room hotel, restaurant, spa, villas and banquet complex at William Penn Highway and Bethman Road got a preliminary plan review Monday from Bethlehem Township Planning Commission.

The complex, identified as “Amaya,” would be built on a nearly 10-acre parcel at 4401 William Penn Highway.

  • Bethlehem Township Planning Commission reviewed preliminary plans for a 34-room hotel, restaurant, spa, villas, and banquet complex at William Penn Highway and Bethman Road
  • A similar project on the site was rejected in 2009
  • Residents at the meeting opposed the project for reasons ranging from traffic and stormwater management.

The sketch plan, as the preliminary plan is called, shows the location of the proposed project between First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union in Bethlehem and Northampton Country Club.
According to Douglas J. Coleman, principal architect at Douglas J. Coleman and Associates, LLC, of Warren, N.J., the project would be subdivided into two phases.

Phil Gianficaro
Bethlehem Township Planning Commission heard preliminary plans for a 34-room hotel, with banquet hall, spa, and villas on Monday night.

The first would consist of renovating the existing 8,900-square-foot building into a 42-seat restaurant. It also would include renovation of six existing bedrooms into six bedroom suites, including five on the second floor.

A swimming pool and 1,100-square-foot wedding gazebo also is planned. The first phase would have 91 parking spaces.

Second phase: Hotel, villas, spa

The second phase would consist of a free-standing, 34-room hotel, with an 86-room restaurant and banquet facility. Three 1,900-square-foot villas, each with two bedrooms, would be built separate from the hotel behind the hotel near the pool.

A spa with guest suites on the second floor also is planned. The second phase would have 174 parking spaces.

"I'm just going to say it again — traffic, traffic, traffic. It's just outrageous now and will get worse."<br/>
Thomas Keefer, Bethlehem Township resident

Some residents who live near the property addressed the planning commission over concerns about additional traffic and storm water management issues arising from the project.

"I'm just going to say it again — traffic, traffic, traffic," said Thomas Keefer, a 38-year resident of Carter Road. "It's just outrageous now and will get worse."

Coleman was hired by Dr. Atul K. Amin, who has owned the property since 2002 under The Atul K. Amin Family Limited Partnership II.

Coleman said Amin, who lives adjacent to the property, proposed a similar project in 2009 but was rejected. Coleman said Amin contacted him prior to 2020 to develop a redesign that hopefully would be agreeable to the township.

Coleman said he will seek a conditional use variance from the zoning hearing board. The property is in an area zoned Rural Residential District and the Neighborhood Enhancement Overlay District.

Coleman said a landscaping and engineering plan also begun.

The hotel would adjoin the country club’s golf course.