After hearing over an hour of testimony at their June 14 meeting, supervisors in East Allen Township took steps toward approving an antique automobile repair facility within the township, directing Solicitor Joseph Piperato III to draft conditions for a board vote on June 22.
Kenneth Beck, who currently runs K&T Vintage Sports Cars, LLC in Allentown, Pa., presented his plans to repurpose a current industrial facility at 6584 Ruch Road, Bethlehem, PA 18107 during the meeting’s conditional use hearing.
The proposed Ruch Road facility will expand Beck’s ability to restore classic cars from 1980 and before, particular those British in make. Beck says he specializes in British cars, pointing to Jaguars and Bentleys as makes that he often works on.
According to Beck, the refurbishing process can take up to multiple years, with a typical repair taking about a year to a year and a half. That extended amount of time is what prompted him to seek more space.
“Size is an issue,” Beck said. He said he is currently only able to take a small portion of requests at his Allentown business, due to the limited space that his current facility offers.
Two areas of interest during the testimony were the proposed additions of spray booths and dust collection system prep stations.
“A spray booth is essentially a self-contained room inside that has explosion-proof lighting and the cars are painted in there,” Beck said. “There are airlines inside and they have a filtration system that filters the air that comes into the booth so that no dust is brought in, and there’s also a system on the exhaust side that filters and removes all the particles and fumes and everything from the inside of the spray booth when it exits back into the building itself.”
The dust collection system, which Beck referred to as a prep station, collects and contains dust to prevent getting particulates on other cars. Like the spray booth, the prep station will also be closed off from the rest of the building.
Beck said both stations will comply with industry standards in regards to design and health.
He also noted that the business will not be a retail facility, and will not feature regular sales of cars or parts. Occasional sales are possible, but Beck stressed that he is in the business of restoring cars for his clients, and not regularly selling products to the public.
According to testimony from Beck and his attorney, Lawrence Fox, chemicals will be properly stored in an existing chemical storage room inside the building, and no chemicals, cars or other materials will be stored outside the building.
The building will not feature a fire suppression system, as Beck said in the event of a fire sprinklers can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to the automobiles inside. He said that sprinkler malfunctions are more likely than the possibility of a fire, prompting many restoration businesses to not have any sprinkler systems. Beck was unsure if he will have a fire suppression system inside the spray booth.
After an inquiry from Township Deputy Fire Marshal John McDevitt, Beck did say that his business will have a fire detection system.
In what will likely be music to the ears of East Allen Township residents, Beck said the majority of deliveries to his business are made by services like UPS and FedEx, and that tractor trailer deliveries will be “very seldom,” with them taking place only about one or two times a year.
More information can be found on Beck and his services at ktvintagecars.com.