County council to mull sale of former detention center

WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Council will decide whether to allow the sale of a former juvenile detention center to a Wilkes-Barre contractor who wants to build a halfway house for women on the site.
Jim Casey wants to buy the building on a hill above the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for $20,000 and repair the building, which is dilapidated after years of disuse.
His submission was the only response to a county request for proposals for the property. The county had budgeted $400,000 for demolition before requesting proposals.
The deal is contingent upon zoning approval and a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Council will also discuss a tax abatement for a proposed development in Hanover Township.
NorthPoint Development, a Riverside, Missouri, development firm, is looking for a LERTA, or Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, which allows tax relief on improvements built on land that is considered a deteriorated area. NorthPoint already has an agreement for a tax abatement with Hanover Township and Hanover Area School District.
Brent Miles, a vice president of economic development for the firm, said he is hoping to break ground on three buildings soon but a LERTA would create an incentive for the company to move up construction of a fourth building at the site.
Also on council’s agenda:
• Transferring supervision of security personnel from the county Operational Services Division to the Division of Judicial Services and Records.
• A request from the citizens group Represent NEPA to officially establish a county policy saying tough, new anti-corruption laws for politicians, lobbyists and outside groups such as super PACs are necessary in order to protect and promote first amendment free speech rights and to restore ordinary Americans as the most important stakeholders in government.
• The sale of a vacant lot of land adjacent to 107 Harris Hill Road in Kingston Township to Rose Hernandez for $500.
• Amending the county zoning map to rezone a property in Duryea from a heavy industrial zone to a two-family residential zone.

read the full article >>