BY PATRICK RUSHTON, CITIZENS’ VOICE COLUMNIST / PUBLISHED: AUGUST 26, 2019
Mericle Commercial Real Estate’s plan to build a 217,000-square-foot industrial building on the former Poseidon Pool property in the Crestwood Industrial Park cleared another hurdle last week when the Crestwood School Board approved a 10-year extension of the Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ) designation for the parcel.
The KOEZ designation exempts the property owner from municipal, school and county property taxes for 10 years. Wright Twp. supervisors approved the extension of the KOEZ designation at their Aug. 12 meeting. The request is expected to be on the agenda for Luzerne County Council’s Aug. 27 work session.
At the Wright Twp. supervisors meeting, Rob Mericle said the “spec” building would result in about 174 new jobs. He said his company and the chamber are working to meet requirements of Pennsylvania Act 2 which Mericle said deals with cleanup of environmentally challenged properties. At the school board meeting, Mericle said cleanup of the property could take up to two years.
The Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund, a subsidiary of the chamber, assumed control of the property after Poseidon Pools closed and filed for bankruptcy in 1998. At the Crestwood School Board meeting, it was reported the chamber will pay $275,000 in back property taxes.
Wright seeks storm water permit waiver
Wright Twp. is moving forward with its request for a waiver from the MS4 permit requirements.
Township secretary/treasurer Pamela Heard at the supervisors’ August meeting reported the MS4 waiver application is complete and will be submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for review. The waiver application was prepared by LVIC Civil engineers, Selinsgrove, at a cost of $2,950.
At that same meeting, township resident Gary Tredinnick once again urged supervisors to send letters to county, state and federal officials voicing their opposition to requirements of the federal Clean Water Act which has resulted in local municipalities being forced to comply with onerous demands and the imposition of “rain taxes” in some municipalities. Supervisor Matt Howton told Tredinnick he agrees with his suggestion, however no action was taken on Tredinnick’s suggestion.
Supervisors earlier this year tabled action on a proposed MS4 pollution reduction plan prepared by Borton-Lawson Engineering. The action came after the board reviewed the extensive comments on the plan from the township’s Environmental Advocacy Committee (EAC) which suggested the township investigate seeking a waiver from DEP. The township’s proposed five-year pollution reduction plan to meet federal Clean Water Act requirements would cost the township more than $1 million to implement, money the township does not have.
Heard reported the township is planning to have more dead trees removed from the township park during August. She said the felled trees will be made available to anyone who wants to remove them. She said so far, 65 trees have been taken down.
Supervisors gave approval to the Mountain Top Lacrosse Association (MALAXA) to use the ice rink for box lacrosse pending submission of insurance. Howton said he will check on the status of the rink’s lights since the organization wants to use the rink at night.
They also approved the route for the Rotary Club of Mountain Top 5k run. The organization must receive approval of the state Department of Transportation since the route includes portions of South Main Road, a state highway.
Blue Ridge Trail
Dorrance Twp. solicitor Donald Karpowich told supervisors at their August meeting that the Blue Ridge Trail Planned Residential Development (PRD) appeal briefs have been filed by the township with the court of common pleas.
Following the recommendation of the township planning commission, Dorrance Twp. supervisors denied approval of the proposed PRD last December following nearly two years of hearings and meetings on the project.
The township’s planning commission cited several deficiencies in the plan in their recommendation to supervisors to deny approval. The area for which the PRD is planned is zoned conservation. A PRD is a permitted use in that district, however the developer needed to obtain conditional use approval from the township. In August 2017 supervisors gave conditional approval to allow the project on a 2-1 vote. The developer had 12 months to submit a site design plan to the township for review to determine if it meets all requirements for a PRD. It was that plan which the supervisors decided not to approve.
Karpowich also told supervisors a $12,500 bond has been posted for a logging operation off St. John’s Road. The bond covers possible damage to a stretch of road less than one mile.
Supervisors voted to advertise for a full-time road department worker. The position requires operating equipment, road maintenance, plowing and township property maintenance. A valid Class B CDL driver license with airbrakes is preferred but not required. Starting salary is based on experience. Applications will be accepted until Sept. 4.
Supervisors hired John Wengrzynek for grounds maintenance on an as needed basis at a rate of $15 per hour.
Pat Rushton writes about Mountain Top. Contact him at email@example.com.