Divided board decides to buy former shoe factory for storage

June 09, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

A divided Board of County Commissioners agreed to purchase yesterday the former Kessler Shoe Factory and 3.9 acres surrounding it.

The county and the Carroll school board plan to use the site for storage. School officials have said they will also set up a maintenance center in the 64,000-square-foot structure, which will enable them to vacate the old Hampstead Elementary School.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell voted against the acquisition, saying he would rather see the county build a facility. The building is about 50 years old and needs a new roof, which will cost about $85,000.

The Kessler Shoe Factory, in the 100 block of Shaeffer Ave. in Westminster, closed more than a decade ago. Over the years, the building was rented to various tenants, but the one-story structure has been vacant for 18 months.

The commissioners agreed to pay David and Charlotte Kessler $750,000 for the property, $290,000 less than its appraised value. Settlement is expected next month.

In other business, the commissioners rejected a proposal to grant a property tax credit to Rainbow & Reasons Inc., a Finksburg nonprofit group that is establishing a day care facility in Westminster, fearing it would open the door to other businesses seeking similar benefits.

Maryland law gives local leaders the power to set up a program to provide tax credits for day care facilities that serve children or adults. The state ordinance does not differentiate between for-profit businesses and nonprofit groups.

The commissioners also agreed to consider giving senior citizens a discount at the county's Northern Landfill in Westminster.

Several citizens have requested the discount, said Gary Horst, director of the Department of Enterprise and Recreation Services.

He told the commissioners he would need to examine the impact such a discount program would have on the department's revenue.

By unanimous vote, the commissioners decided yesterday to send the county's proposed update of the Solid Waste Master Plan to municipalities for review.

The document will also be available in local libraries, and residents are encouraged to comment. The plan, in its third year, serves as the guide to an integrated system for managing solid waste.

Carroll produces about 180,000 tons of waste each year, Horst told the commissioners. The Northern Landfill handles most of it, about 130,000 tons, he said.

By law, the commissioners must hold a public hearing on the plan before submitting it to the Maryland Department of the Environment for approval. An informational meeting is expected to be held this month and a public hearing about 30 days later.

Horst said he would like to forward the document to state officials by the end of the summer.

Pub Date: 6/09/99

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