Friday, April 18, 2008

Candidate Ads Promote Bill Created Local Development Districts

The same local development districts that receive all the state grants coming their way for some 15 years?

The same local development districts some of which properties were scooped up by a local economic development agency?

The same local development districts that were enfolded into land later designated for development as Keystone Opportunity Zone sites?

Those local development districts?

Larry Roberts, a former state representative is seeking a return to the seat he held over several terms representing the 51st legislative district in Fayette County.

What is Larry Roberts' position on the same issue incumbent state Representative Timothy Mahoney has been asked to address?

Recent legislation co-sponsored by incumbent Peter J. Daley, another state representive who represents part of Fayette, seeks to extend the life of Keystone Opportunity Zones which are about to "expire."

The legislation is based on PA Governor Ed Rendell's newly proposed economic stimulus efforts.

When Roberts served as Representive of the 51st district, and the state legislation was proposed for implementation of Keystone Opportunity Zones, Roberts voted for the legislation.

Years later, when a local property already designated as a KOZ was slated for development, managers/owners of the property, Fay Penn Economic Development Council, sought rezoning for the property to enable developers to build a resort and some minimal amount of residential housing.

The same commissioners who accepted expanding the existing KOZ program into what became known as KOEZs (2000), unanimously authorized the rezoning. Afterwards, development plans fell through for what became known as Crystal Springs Resort, located in Springhill Township, Fayette County.

In the back of our minds is the potential the managers/owners of this property, which remains undeveloped to date, will seek an extension of the KOZ for it.

The portion of the property which permitted development of residential housing became the subject of quite a bit of controversy during a couple of follow-up efforts to rezone the property to expand plans for residential housing.

However, the rezoning requests were denied by a different administration of board of commissioners consisting of a majority board of Republicans. The Democrat remaining on the board had originally adopted resolutions for KOZ designations, KOZ expansions, and the initial zoning request which permitted for residential housing and resort development for Crystal Springs.

When the subsequent rezoning requests were made to allow for expansion of the housing development on the already existing KOZ property, the commissioner, Vincent Vicites, voted along with fellow board members to reject the rezoning request.

All candidates seeking to represent a portion of Fayette County should be asked whether they support or reject the extension of KOZs for such property in particular which includes the potential to provide tax freedom for residential homes.

They should be asked whether they support or oppose the current bill H.B. 2297, introduced by Rep. Cherelle Parker, D-Phila, which was co-sponsored by an area legislator, Peter J. Daley.

(Net the Truth Online)

PA House Site info states:

March 12 – Moving rapidly on the governor’s economic stimulus strategy, state Rep. Peter J. Daley, D-Washington/Fayette, chairman of the House Commerce Committee and Rep. Dick Hess, R- Bedford, minority chairman, called an expedited meeting of the committee to extend the life of the state’s Keystone Opportunity Zone tax abatement law...

The committee today unanimously reported out H.B. 2297, introduced by Rep. Cherelle Parker, D-Phila. Both Daley and Hess signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, along with 17 members from both sides of the aisle. The bill proposes to extend, expand and modify the existing Keystone Opportunity Zone program...

The first part of the proposed legislation would authorize local municipalities and school districts to extend expiration dates of existing undeveloped property within KOZs. It would allow a local option to choose a seven-year extension for the subzone or grant a seven-year extension in which zone benefits would not accrue until a company locates within the zone, at which point zone benefits would be in effect for 10 years from the dates of occupancy...

State Rep. Tim Mahoney has been asked to decline support of the legislation.

So too, has office-seeker Larry Roberts.

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