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ICE to locate administrative offices in building on Reach Road

U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) is in steps to occupy an existing governmental office building on South Reach Road for administrative purposes — not as a detention site to house immigrants, city officials and those of the federal agency said Monday afternoon.

“The building will be for the administration office use and not be used to house or jail immigrants,” said Gary Knarr, city zoning administrator. It is located at the far end of South Reach Road near the levee, he said.

The administrative office use was confirmed by ICE officials in a statement,“ICE can confirm plans to relocate its administrative office and personnel from Allenwood to Williamsport (Pennsylvania) within the next year after renovating the stand-alone facility.”

ICE as a federal agency has two components, said Danielle Bennett, an agency spokeswoman.

Those divisions are either Enforcement and Removal Operations or Homeland Security Investigations. Bennett was in the process of determining which division will use the office space.

Recently, ICE submitted to the city administration a letter of intent to locate in the building, as it has interior upgrades done at the building, in preparation for the offices to be occupied, Knarr said. The building is in a zone identified on the zoning map as “open space,” and it is permitted for use as government offices, Knarr said.

The building previously received land development approval and is in compliance with subdivision regulations, Knarr said. The location for the administrative offices of ICE did not require approval or review of City Council, Knarr said.

Some members of council have recently been informed of the development.

“Our office was first notified of the potential establishment of an ICE facility in Williamsport in April,” said Michael Plummer, press secretary for U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer. “We immediately reached out to the agency and were informed that it was ‘unaware of any housing facility’ at that location. Its reported use as an administrative (not a detention) facility is consistent with our correspondence with ICE.”

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