The College Township Council agreed to proceed with scheduled public hearings regarding the proposed Hilltop gateway community zoning project.
The hearings, slated for Sept. 4, will center around two topics: adding a stipulation that any building within 150 feet of any single family residence must be 35-feet tall or less, and an overall consideration of zoning the proposed parcels as a gateway community zone.
According to senior planner Mark Holdren, the council adopted to amend the zoning ordinance in May that any building within 300 feet of an R-1-zoned single family residence must be 35-feet or less.
“Both (the 300-foot requirement and the 150-foot requirement) are in effect in the zone,” he said. “Some areas cover both requirements, some areas only cover one.”
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The addition of the 150-foot requirement came as a recommendation by the Planning Commission, according to its minutes.
The commission also recommended approving the ordinance to rezone the area as gateway community.
Alex Sahakian, who spoke to the council on behalf of HFL Corp. President Daniel Sahakian, proposed that the 150-foot requirement apply only to the north side of East College Avenue.
HFL owns several properties within the proposed zone, he said, as well as properties on the north side of College Avenue, including the Unimart, Country Inn and Suites and a yet-undeveloped section of land adjacent to the hotel.
If the 150-foot requirement is implemented, the hotel immediately becomes nonconforming, he said. While nothing is planned for the undeveloped land, they would like to keep their options open.
“No residents raised an issue when the hotel was built,” he said.
While there are several single family homes south of College Avenue, he said, there are only four or five north of the road.
Councilman Lynn Herman said Sahakian’s request was “very reason-able.”
Any revisions would mean sending the ordinance back to the Planning Commission, Council Chairman Eric Bernier said. This would push the public hearing date further into September.
The board agreed to proceed with the ordinance as it stands, taking it to the public hearing on the scheduled date.
In other business, council passed a motion to hold another public hearing on Sept. 18 regarding amendments to the township’s stormwater management ordinance.
Township engineer Kent Baker explained in a memo that Centre County adopted the Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan for Spring Creek in 2002. The township was awarded a new storm sewer system permit in 2013 with the requirement that Act 167 be modified to conform to Department of Environmental Protection standards.
If the council doesn’t adopt an ordinance by the end of September, Baker warned, the township would become noncompliant.