Council Forgives $237,512 in Pottstown Plating Taxes, Fees

POTTSTOWN PA – Despite 7th Ward Councilman Joe Kirkland’s stated reluctance “to leave that much money on the table,” he and fellow members of Borough Council unanimously voted Monday (June 9, 2020) to forgive $237,512 in unpaid taxes, penalties, fees, and outstanding utility bills that have accumulated on the former Pottstown Plating Works property at 215 S. Washington St.

The action was among several items dealt with during the board’s virtual meeting.

Borough Manager Justin Keller acknowledged the parcel at the northwest corner of South Washington and Industrial Highway likely would remain vacant and continue to deteriorate unless the borough offered incentives such as the relief to motivate development. The beneficiary is developer South Washington Street LLC.

It hopes to begin re-purposing the site in about a year but also will need to seek similar tax adjustments from the Pottstown School District, to which Keller said an even larger amount of taxes is due, and Montgomery County.

Council members in February 2018 had already forgiven a slightly smaller amount, about $225,000, for the same reason. The property, consisting of almost four acres with more than 50,000 square feet of industrial and warehouse space under roof, last sold in November 2011 for $163,000, according to Montgomery County property records.

Because Pottstown Plating offered metal finishing services, it dealt with a number of environmentally hazardous materials. A legal advertisement published March 26 indicated Environmental Standards Inc. of Valley Forge PA notified the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on behalf of the developer that it intended to clean up the property for future non-residential use. It currently is contaminated with arsenic, cadmium, nickel, and industrial and dry-cleaning solvents.

Approvals for the KEEP District, Derr Family Properties and Walmart, and post-coronavirus outdoor dining

In other commercial business related matters Monday, council also approved:

  • New overlay zoning for the Keystone Employment & Economic District, which will follow an extended Keystone Boulevard and the Schuylkill River across a portions of the borough and into West Pottsgrove. The district primarily benefits proposed construction during 2021 of a green energy plant valued at $142 million.
  • Separately, minor land development plans for Derr Family Properties at 58 and 60 High St.; and Walmart at 223 Shoemaker Rd.; and
  • Guidelines for a 90-day period of outdoor dining, indented to help local restaurants and other commercial activities as the state emerges from restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Photos by The Post Publications