Cashing out?

By on August 27, 2014

West Cocalico tells East it’s time to pay up on beleaguered North Reading Road property

For months, the 1975 N. Reading Road property, the 20-plus-acre site with the 45,000-square-foot warehouse owned by East Cocalico Township in partnership with West Cocalico Township, and Adamstown and Denver boroughs, has been a thorn in the side of municipal officials.

And no where has that thorn been more piercing than in the sides of the West Cocalico supervisors who own a 32 percent share of the property, the value of which has declined precipitously since its 2006 acquisition.

A rear view of the warehouse at 1975 N. Reading Road, Denver.

A rear view of the warehouse at 1975 N. Reading Road, Denver.

The parcel was purchased for $3.7 million back then; it will be sold (following an open-bid process) for $1.7 million to DenTech Inc. of Brownstown, the sole bidder. Now, following the sale, DenTech plans to deed back to East Cocalico and the other municipalities a seven-acre tract with access to Route 272.

Use of the parcel has yet to be determined.

But the West Cocalico supervisors don’t want to be a part of any joint ownership — they simply want out.

West Cocalico Supervisor James J. Stoner told his East Cocalico peers at their Aug. 21 meeting that his municipality wants to be bought out for its share of the seven-acre tract.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Supervisors Jacque Smith and Terry Scheetz, Stoner’s words were clear.

“We want to get out of this,” he said. “We want to close the deal. We don’t want to be paying taxes on land that ain’t in the township (of West Cocalico). We want to be bought out and be done. We’ll put all of this in writing and send you a letter.”

Following some discussion, East Cocalico Supervisor Chairman Doug Mackley responded.

“I hear you,” Mackley told Stoner. “We won’t be making any decisions on this request tonight.”

The matter will be addressed after East Cocalico ‘s receipt of the West Cocalico letter. DenTech is donating the seven acres following property settlement on Thursday, Aug. 28.

In other action related to the seven-acre parcel, supervisors approved a separate donation agreement for “7-Acres, Lot B” and a resolution waiving subdivision requirements for the parcel.

“Each property (DenTech’s and the parcel being donated to East Cocalico Township) will have frontage on each road (state Route 272 and Reamstown Road),” said East Cocalico Manager Mark Hiester. “Permission is given for any grading that PennDOT would require.”

An amendment to the sales agreement was passed by East Cocalico supervisors which addresses pro-rating the settlement costs with each of the four municipalities.

Each of the four municipalities stands to lose a sizeable portion of the money fronted for a mortgage on the property eight years ago. East Cocalico holds 46 percent, followed by West Cocalico with 32 percent; Denver with 16 percent, and Adamstown with 6 percent.

Supervisors authorized Mackley to sign all documents regarding the 1975 N. Reading Road sale.

In other business:

*Police Chief George Beever reported the amendment to House Bill 1090 passed, allowing for newborns to be dropped off at manned police stations. Only two police stations in the county, Lancaster City and Manheim Township, are manned 24 hours.

“We will have signage asking any person who comes to drop off a baby when the station is not manned to dial 911 and an officer will respond,” Beever said. “We’ll then be asking for medical transport.

“From what I understand, there have been very few babies dropped off in the state in the 10 years of the Safe Haven Law.”

*Zoning Officer Tony Luongo reported one single family home dwelling permit was issued in July, which continues the pace of one new home in the township per month. Luongo reported that the township “had 16 false alarms last month, the highest we’ve ever had.”

In total, 31 applications were received by the zoning office in July, 31 permits were issued, nine are in review, and seven are ready for pick-up.

*Supervisors approved paying the previously agreed upon donation to the fire companies for the new mobile radios. The three East Cocalico Township fire companies received a FEMA grant for the radios. FEMA grants require 10 percent local participation, which was $9,200 for East Cocalico Township.

*Sewage enforcement officer, Dale High, sent a list to the township office of 13 violations in the township.

“We’re sending out letters to these people,” responded Hiester.

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