Norwin Towne Square project's tax-break issue raised
A five-year tax break for a property in North Huntingdon has upset at least one member of Irwin council.
John Cassandro, council president, suggested proposing a resolution to oppose the tax break given to developers of Norwin Towne Square. Other council members questioned the purpose of such a resolution during a workshop meeting Thursday night.
“We can take a stance and oppose it,” Cassandro said. “It would just be a statement for us to make to state our displeasure if we are displeased with it.”
Although the resolution will not appear on a meeting agenda this month, Cassandro said it could be voted on later.
Last November, North Huntingdon commissioners declared Norwin Towne Square, the 1950s-era plaza on the west end of the township, blighted and deteriorated.
The designation made way for commissioners to approve a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, or LERTA, tax abatement. It was subsequently approved by the Norwin School District.
That means new construction or improvements at the site are tax exempt for five years. The actual land value is not included.
Cassandro said he takes issue with the break because the Norwin School District, which includes Irwin, will be losing out on tax revenue during those five years. And in the long run, Irwin borough will not receive tax revenue from the properties.
“How does that help Irwin?” Cassandro said. “We could do a resolution opposing it if we wanted it. It would be speaking our mind, which we probably should do.”
Several council members appeared apathetic after debating the purpose of the resolution.
Deborah Kelly, council vice president, disagreed with Cassandro.
“They're improving the property and, in five years, they're going to have a million-dollar property that they're going to be paying taxes on,” she said.
One of the partners for Colony Norwin, which has a sales agreement to buy Norwin Towne Square, estimated the company will invest between $12 million and $15 million to rejuvenate the complex.
Work has begun on the plaza located along Route 30 between Malts Lane and Lincoln Way. Plans for Norwin Towne Square include demolishing part of the plaza, adding a grocery store and building a car dealership. The Shop 'n Save planned is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The Bob Massie Toyota dealership planned for the development likely will be completed by this fall.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.