Blue Mountain Health System may construct a storage building on a vacant piece of land adjacent to the parking lot of its Palmerton Hospital campus.

That was the ruling made by the borough's Zoning Hearing Board on Tuesday, which unanimously approved Blue Mountain's request to build the edifice on a parcel west of the existing parking lot at the corner of Columbia Avenue and First Street.

Solicitor Michael Garfield, who filled in for zoning board solicitor Jenny Cheng, said the zoners attached one condition as part of their approval.

Because the building is for storage, the condition was that within 60 days of the day of approval for occupancy, the pods they presently have for storage must be removed from the present parking lot, Garfield said.

There was no public opposition to the plan, he said.

In his rejection letter, dated Aug. 8, borough zoning officer Duane Dellecker stated that Blue Mountain wanted to erect a 60-by-100-foot storage building, for non-residential purposes, on property located in an R-2 (Residential - Medium Density) zoning district.

A section of the borough's zoning ordinance permits hospital activity in the R-2 zoning district, while another section of the zoning ordinance allows a storage building as accessory use, Dellecker states in his letter.

Dellecker stated that another section of the zoning ordinance defines an accessory structure as "a structure serving a purpose customarily incidental to the use of the principal building and located on the same lot as the principal building."

Without the existence of a principal structure on this property, no accessory structure may be erected without the consent of the zoners through a variance proceeding, Dellecker stated in his letter.

Also on Tuesday, zoners unanimously granted a side variance to a couple to erect an addition to their property.

Fred and Maria Nothstein, who reside at 767 Columbia Avenue, may build an addition that will extend 9-feet, 6-inches, from the side property line at the single family dwelling, which is located in an R-1 (Residential-Low Density) Zoning District.

Garfield said there was no public opposition to the plan.

In his rejection letter, dated July 24, Dellecker stated that a section of the borough's zoning ordinance requires a 10-foot minimum side yard setback for structures in the R-1 zoning district.