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Councils take action to clear way for industrial park

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City, county make agreement; county passes resolution and two ordinances; will hold special meetings to complete by end of year

By Chris Sardelli

Lancaster County Council laid the first few bricks this week in a joint effort to bring a new company to the reinvigorated Air-Rail Industrial Park.
During a series of meetings this week, council members voted on several motions, resolutions and ordinances related to restarting the process for the industrial park, while also laying the groundwork to allow a new company to set up shop there.
The name of the company, dubbed “Project Brick,” has not been formally announced by County Council.
After coming out of closed session Monday, Dec. 10, council members approved 6-0 a motion to accept 110 acres of property the county has had in holding.
Councilman Larry Honeycutt was not present for the vote.
The land is near the Lancaster County Airport on the south side of S.C. 9, near the Chester County line.
Plans for the park ground to a halt Nov. 26 when council voted unanimously to stop negotiations regarding the land.
Both County Council and Lancaster City Council had been in talks on partnering to develop the park on the land. Those discussions resulted in City Council voting in October to allocate $900,000 to extend the city’s water and sewer services to the park.
Agreement OK’d
Also on Monday after closed session, County Council voted 6-0 to approve first reading of an intergovernmental agreement between the county and the city of Lancaster.
The agreement states a company in the park can hook up to the city’s water and sewer lines without having to agree to be annexed into the city if the property eventually becomes contiguous to the city limits.
In return, the county will pay an annual fee to the city equivalent to the amount that would be generated by a fee-in-lieu-of-tax that equals 50 mills. A mill is used in the equation to determine a landowner’s property taxes.
On Tuesday, Dec. 11, Lancaster City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution to approve the intergovernmental agreement.
The vote came after City Council met in closed session to discuss what was listed as “economic development and contractual matters.”
The city doesn’t have to take any more action before the new year regarding the agreement.
County Administrator Steve Willis said the agreement had been a sticking point between the two councils.
“Both councils are happy with it,” Willis said of the new agreement. “It was one of those things the two councils couldn’t quite get together on, but if they wanted development out there, they had to tweak the language a bit. Now the councils can live with it.”
Special meeting
County Council also held a special meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12, to continue the process. At the meeting, council voted 6-0, with Councilwoman Charlene McGriff absent, to:
• Approve an inducement resolution between the county and Project Brick, in which both sides commit to several terms. The company promises to create 68 new jobs and invest $8 million during a five-year period, while the county pledges to provide a specific fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that will provide special source revenue credits during the first five years.
• Approve first reading of an ordinance to convey 13 acres of property at the industrial park to Project Brick for the construction of a manufacturing facility. The land is near the corner of Mount Nebo Church Road and S.C. 9.
• Approve first reading of an ordinance to authorize a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement between the county and Project Brick. If approved, the company would pay an annual fee and the county would repay the company with special source revenue credits.
As part of the schedule, the company would be repaid 75 percent of its fee-in-lieu of tax payments for the first three years, and then 50 percent for the next two years.
The agreement would last for 30 years.
More meetings
County Council will hold a special meeting at noon today, Dec. 14, in council chambers at the Lancaster County Administration Building to hear second readings of both the conveyance and fee-in-lieu of taxes ordinances.
Due to state law, council must wait seven days to hear third reading on an intergovernmental agreement, so council will hear final reading of all three ordinances at a special meeting Dec. 28.
Willis declined to comment on the name of, or products created by, the undisclosed Project Brick, citing confidentiality.
“On third reading, we’ll be happy to say what the company is, but because of confidentiality agreements, we can’t say now,” Willis said. “Council knows who the company is, but we are contractually bound not to say anything.”

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at (803) 416-8416