Are Iron Run Motel Days Numbered?
Owner Minu Kumar Desai again tells Upper Macungie Supervisors he wants to raze 'dilapidated' Iron Run Motel and build $3 million Best Western hotel.
Could the Iron Run Motel's days finally be numbered? That depends on who you believe.
The dilapidated motel at 5630 Tilghman St. has been on the township's radar for demolition for years, but its fate is still in doubt after Thursday night's Upper Macungie Supervisors meeting.
Minu Kumar Desai, who owns both Iron Run and a four-story Best Western Motel in the township, seeks to demolish the four motel buildings he owns that total 6,731 square feet and add two adjacent properties for a combined one acre of land.
The planned new 50-room hotel would be 43,835 square feet on land zoned R-4 (residential) and NC (neighborhood commercial) at a cost of $3 million.
However, those plans do not concur with the township's current zoning laws, which is another fight Desai has on his hands.
Earlier this year, the township's Zoning Hearing Board heard a request from Desai and his lawyer, Lawrence B. Fox, that garnered mixed results. Any appeal would go to Lehigh County Court, where a judge would read the transcripts of the proceedings in order to make a decision.
Last night, supervisors made it clear that giving Desai so-called "spot zoning" is not something they are interested in and that he should consider building something else on the property once the motel is razed.
"If we agree to go against zoning, there's no justice for the township there," said supervisor Sam Ashmar of changing zoning laws. "Maybe you should raze the Iron Run and sell the lots or do something else with the land."
"Spot zoning is not legal and sets a dangerous precedent for the township," added supervisor Kathy Rader.
Fire Commissioner Grant Grim noted there are currently a number of health hazards at the motel, including bed bugs.
Desai and his attorney will appear again before the Board of Supervisors at its next scheduled meeting on Oct. 4 to discuss franchise agreements and bank financing, among other topics currently tied into the project.