Due to additional environmental testing performed, the Potter County Housing Authority has knocked $50,000 off the price of the future site of Tractor Supply in Coudersport.
At its meeting on Monday, Sept. 20, the authority unanimously voted to amend the sales price for the property at 406 South West St., Coudersport, from the previously approved $200,000 to $150,000. The authority originally agreed to sell the property in April to Primax Properties, which is working with Tractor Supply.
“We modified the price to account for the expenses incurred to comply [with DEP]. Originally, we agreed on $200,000 but that was with a clean bill of health,” said John Wright, executive director of the Housing Authority. “We paid $150,000 for it and we’ve accepted that same price.”
The authority purchased the property for $150,000 in 2014 from Tom Majot. Wright said Majot purchased it from the Adelphia Estate and before that, the property housed a garage owned by Coudersport Borough.
The problem, said Wright, is that a groundwater study was reportedly never completed as part of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Land Recycling Program, known as Act 2. The testing was needed since the property’s former garage used to contain gasoline.
Wright said he’s not sure how far back the oversight goes in terms of past property owners.
“Somewhere in that chain, the study wasn’t done. We’re not calling into question how it didn’t get done, we’re just continuing to move forward. We’re just giving Primax the time they need to complete that,” said Wright, adding that he expects the property sale to close in the spring.
Wright added that all the proper evaluations, including the missing groundwater study, have already been completed.
According to a legal notice published in the Sept. 9 Potter Leader-Enterprise, submitted by geologist David Crowther on behalf of Primax Properties, the property was found to “be contaminated with volatile organic compounds which has contaminated groundwater and possible soils on the site.”
Wright said, however, that the contamination levels were not found to be overly significant and more importantly, the property is not the source of the contamination.
“It was found nothing is being generated from our site. If we were the source, the project would be over,” said Wright. “But just because we’re not the source doesn’t mean we don’t care about it. It just means we handle it differently.”
The legal notice said Primax has submitted to DEP an Intent to Remediate, which includes “pathway elimination via engineering and institutional controls.”
Such action pursuant to Act 2 requires a 30-day public comment period, which runs through Oct. 7. The notice also says the borough may request to be involved in the remediation plans and can refuse plans for the site.
The Housing and Redevelopment Authority meets every third Monday of the month at 4 p.m. The public is invited and can call in at 814-274-5761 with pin 114477#.