On Centre: Centre Region | College Township affordable housing hearing April 18

March 1, 2013 

— Those wanting to weigh in on a proposed ordinance to further regulate affordable housing units in the township will have the chance to do so during a public hearing April 18.

The township since 2009 has had a voluntary ordinance to encourage what it refers to as workforce housing, for lower-income residents, but no developer has taken advantage of it.

The new ordinance includes a mandatory provision if a development will have a density of more than five dwelling units per acre, which would require 5 to 10 percent of the development be affordable units. It also offers incentives for including affordable units, such as a waiver of parkland requirements and a reduction in the number of sidewalks.

Officials have supported, and staff will invite local developers to participate in the April hearing and give feedback on whether the requirements and incentives seem appropriate.

When the Township Council last discussed the ordinance last week, they generally approved, but still had a few hangups with incentives.

Mary Shoemaker said she disagrees with the one that, for every affordable unit, allows one unit in the development to increase occupancy from three to five unrelated individuals. Chairman Dave Fryer said he has a problem with one that would defer municipal fees, with the intent to help developers cover their costs.

Councilman Forrest Remick continued to oppose the mandatory provision, but said, “generally, I’m very, very pleased with what has been done.”

College Township’s discussion started with the development of two large student housing complexes followed by the announced closure of two area mobile home parks. Hilltop, located in the township, gave its residents a Thursday deadline to move.

Regional dog event to fund tree plantings

For local dogs who love swimming pools and trees, an event early this fall is sure to please.

Centre Region Parks and Recreation plans to hold an “Aqua-Dog” event from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 8, after the pools have closed for the season.

For $5 per dog, humans of all ages can bring their dogs for a swim at the Park Forest pool, 2100 School Drive in Patton Township. Only dogs will be allowed in the pools, and human admission is free.

Proceeds from the event will fund tree plantings at the Oak Hall regional park, planned in Oak Hall, in College and Harris townships.

Development bid contracts recently were approved for the park, and a groundbreaking ceremony will be planned for April or May. The park is expected to open in the spring of 2015.

Contact CRPR for more information at 231-3071.

Jessica VanderKolk writes this weekly column featuring news from the Centre Region. Contact her at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter.

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