A company seeking a zoning change in Williamsport has been leasing two buildings from Washington County for nearly seven years.
The lease agreement, which took effect Jan. 1, 2006, covers the county’s Conococheague Industrial Pretreatment Facility at 16232 Elliott Parkway, outside Williamsport, and Nicodemus Treatment Facility at 15801 Lockwood Road in Williamsport.
Under the agreement, Spirit Services pays the county $345,600 a year to use the pretreatment facility.
The company has an option to buy the pretreatment property between the 21st and 22nd anniversaries of the start of the lease. The price would be $10.
The lease also lets Spirit Services obtain the Nicodemus facility, if it asks and pledges a security, after at least one year of the lease has passed. That portion of the agreement is based on Spirit Services committing $300,000, which it will have done after the first year of lease payments for the pretreatment facility.
Deputy County Attorney Kirk C. Downey said the agreement originally was structured with the pretreatment facility in mind; the Nicodemus building was an afterthought.
Having a private tenant at those buildings helps the county offset the cost of maintaining them, Downey said.
Spirit Services has asked the town of Williamsport to change the zoning at the Nicodemus property.
The town held a public hearing on Nov. 5.
On Nov. 12, the Williamsport Town Council postponed making a decision on the request until at least next month.
Spirit Services says on its website that it receives used oil at the Nicodemus facility and processes it “for reuse as fuel for various industries.”
Williamsport Mayor James G. McCleaf II said earlier this month that town officials weren’t aware a private business was operating at the Nicodemus plant.
Richard Grimm, the town’s zoning administrator, has said the property is zoned suburban residential and Spirit Services has asked for an employment center zone.
Oil recycling is not permitted in a suburban residential zone, Grimm has said.
“They should not be operating right now because they didn’t go through the proper zoning,” McCleaf has said.
The zone change is needed for Spirit Services to acquire the property, according to McCleaf.
Jason Divelbiss, an attorney who represented Spirit Services at the Nov. 5 hearing in Williamsport, was not in his office Friday and couldn’t be reached for comment.
“Spirit’s treatment process includes primary filtration, thermal separation and centrifugation to ensure the best possible product for our customers,” the company’s website says. “Spirit also receives used oil filters, antifreeze and nonhazardous solids at this location in bulk or drums.”
At the Conococheague Industrial Pretreatment Facility, Spirit “receives and processes prequalified nonhazardous wastewaters, including oily wastes, heavy metals, leachate and liquid domestic waste,” the company’s website says. “The material is received by tanker and/or rail.”
Under the lease agreement, Spirit Services must accept at least 9.125 million gallons of leachate from the county each year, at a rate of 4 cents per gallon. The rate can increase every three years.
The company will receive 3 cents per gallon to treat raw sewage generated in the county, 6 cents per gallon for septage and 7 cents per gallon for chemical toilet waste. Those rates also may increase every three years.