The Frederick Board of County Commissioners has terminated a 44-year-old agreement with the Eastalco Aluminum Company that essentially allows the business to sell its vacant property in Adamstown.
The agreement restricted the use of the property on Manor Woods Road to aluminum manufacturing only. Eastalco closed its plant in 2005, and ending the agreement opens the door for the company to sell or develop its 2,000-acre property.
“They’re looking to develop their site,” board President Blaine R. Young (R) said. “There are some opportunities that are out there and that are presenting themselves. ... If opportunities present itself they would be in position to move quickly.”
Bruce Dean, the Frederick attorney representing Eastalco, did not say what his client plans to do with the property, but noted at a July 12 commissioners meeting the company is anxious to move forward.
“There were covenants on the property that were put in place for manufacturers and builders of aluminum,” Dean said. “...This is actually a huge thing. They really want this done.”
Michael J. Chomel, senior assistant county attorney, said if the property is used again for aluminum manufacturing the restrictions would apply.
The property is zoned industrial, which would allow manufacturing, processing and assembly operations. If the property is sold for the building of homes, a residential zoning permit would be required.
Currently, there is no development on the property, which has public water and sewer systems, Chomel said. The buildings, infrastructure and foundation have been removed, he said.
The commissioners voted unanimously to terminate the agreement.
Commissioner C. Paul Smith (R) said the move was a no brainer.
“You couldn’t use the property for anything else,” Smith said. “This so restricts the use of the property. ... We gotta resend that agreement.”
In 1968, the county signed an agreement with the Howmet Corp. to open Eastalco. After almost 35 years of manufacturing aluminum, the plant was shut down in 2005, with nearly 600 employees losing their jobs.
At the time of its closing, Eastalco officials blamed high electricity costs after the company’s long-term contract with Allegheny Power expired. The company failed to negiotate a new contract.
In 2010, the buildings on the property were demolished by the company, leaving the land vacant. The site has been considered in the past for a possible natural gas plant, incinerator and electric power substation, although nothing was developed.