Written by Community Editor Nicole Foulke
Norristown borough, the Norristown Area School District and Montgomery county are aligned in wanting to extend the Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) status for two developable riverfront properties on East Washington Avenue, which would allow developers to develop the properties exempt from local and county taxes for a number of years.
The properties, 600 East Washington Avenue and 356 East Washington Avenue, sit in a flood plain, and officials hope that the KOZ status will make them more attractive to developers. Post-development properties can help revitalize the community and later provide tax revenue. The current KOZ status of the East Washington Avenue properties expires on Dec, 31 of this year.
On their Monday work session the school board recommended the KOZ extension, just as at the Norristown Municipal Council meeting on Tuesday, where the council passed a resolution to extend the KOZ extension for nine years.
“Now we’re getting calls from developers asking if the KOZ is still available,” said Jayne Musonye, Norristown’s Director of Planning and Municipal Development, as she addressed the school board about the properties on Monday. “The developers who will likely develop will be doing light industrial development,” she added.
The 600 East Washington Avenue property is currently owned by the Montgomery County Development Authority, and the 356 East Washington Avenue property is privately owned. According to Norristown Council consultant Lois Haggarty, of State Street Advisors, while no taxes are being paid on 600 East Washington Avenue, 356 East Washington Avenue is currently subject to taxes and the school district might receive around $2000.
“The goal of the county and the redevelopment authority is to sell that property,” Haggarty said of 600 East Washington Avenue.
According to Musonye, the council has recommended to the school board that they choose to extend the KOZ status for nine years, as well.
For more information about KOZ, click here.