Variance request for VFW building on board’s agenda
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4714 building, 1204 Main St., is on the June 13 Northampton Borough Zoning Hearing Board agenda.
Post 4714 Commander Larry Schlittler confirmed it has a pending agreement of sale with Abra Development, but the sale is contingent on Abra receiving approval from the zoning board.
Schlittler emphasized the VFW remains as the building’s owner.
“We will not sell the building to the developer if it does not get the zoning board’s approval,” he said.
Schlittler said if Abra Development gets approval, the VFW will continue holding meetings at the two-story structure and have a room for equipment, supplies and uniforms.
Abra Development has taken an appeal to the zoning hearing board after it was rejected by the borough on zoning matters.
Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst reported Abra Development is looking for a number of variances for the property. The developer would like to modify the use of the property to include food processing with potential retail sales. It would continue to use the social/catering hall for both VFW functions and a future private catering operation, according to the zoning hearing board’s agenda.
Borough council went on record at the June 6 meeting to oppose the zoning board giving consent to the requested variances. Borough Solicitor Steven Goudsouzian was instructed by a unanimous council vote to be present at the hearing and voice the borough’s objection in granting Abra Development’s approval.
The building has been a part of the borough’s history for decades. The iconic structure is reminiscent of good and bad times, war and peace and the Great Depression and the country’s recovery. In World War II, it served as a place for the draft board, committing borough residents to military duty to fight for the country’s freedom in far-off lands.
The bar area at Post 4714 is closing due to challenges with the day-to-day operations and an aging membership. However, the post remains active in the community, sponsoring a youth essay contest, having honor squads at funerals for deceased members, participating in the Jack Frost parade and playing a major role in the recent upgrade of the veterans plaza on Washington Avenue.