Penn Crossing added to LERTA discussion
The Penn Crossing Shopping Center might be the next area that Penn Township commissioners target for a temporary tax-abatement program to encourage commercial growth.
Development of the center, which includes a Giant Eagle store and other retail businesses on Penny Lane, has stalled because sewage service and roads haven't been extended to part of the property, township officials said during a joint meeting Monday with the Penn-Trafford School Board about proposed tax-abatement zones in the township.
“It's really a boon to everybody if you can get commercial growth,” Penn Township Solicitor Les Mlakar said.
The two boards already have shown interest in designating a temporary tax-abatement zone through the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act, or LERTA, for the Bushy Run Corporate Park and some properties near the Rite Aid store at the intersection of Route 130 and Pleasant Valley Road.
Commissioners are planning to schedule a public hearing on a LERTA designation that would waive taxes on improvements to those properties by 100 percent for the first three years, 50 percent for the fourth year and 25 percent for the fifth.
The school district, township and Westmoreland County would continue to collect taxes based on the properties' current state and then receive 100 percent of the taxes on the improvements in the sixth year.
Noting a recent LERTA designation near the turnpike in North Huntingdon, Penn Township manager Bruce Light said township commissioners see the abatement program as a way of enticing businesses to grow in Penn Township or move here.
“We have to go head to head and compete with other municipalities,” he said.
Commissioners didn't say for certain that they would add Penn Crossing to the LERTA plan — at least, not immediately.
The Bushy Run Corporate Park and Route 130 area have been the primary areas under consideration because investors are interested in building there.
Giant Eagle officials had been planning a GetGo gas station for the Penn Crossing plaza but pulled out of the plan, Commissioner Paul Wersing said.
“If they came back, I'm sure we'd entertain (the project),” Wersing said.
With both the school board and commissioners trying to stave off tax increases in the coming years, the LERTA zones might lead to new tax revenue through commercial developments, Dallas Leonard said. Even if investors have to walk away from a project that they start, somebody will be responsible long term for paying the taxes of any buildings on the properties, said Leonard, a school board member who is the township's community-development director.
The Westmoreland County Industrial Park III, which is off Mellon Road in Penn Township, is one of four county parks that were developed through LERTA incentives.
Those four parks now have 46 businesses that employ 2,600 people, said Ben Wentzel, business-development director for the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp.
“I think a lot of that has to do with the draw of the LERTA,” Wentzel said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671,or email@example.com.
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.
- Penn-Trafford school board considers adding $4.1M in bonds
- Trafford hires new borough manager
- Penn Township commissioners, Graziani meet for four-hour session
- Trafford Rec Board auction marks 25 years
- School aide accused of throwing shoe at Penn-Trafford special-needs student, causing brush burn
- Asbestos removed from Penn-Trafford High School
- Manor trash-collection fees going up