Some residents aren’t happy about a proposed mixed-use development.
Ten residents, of about three dozen in attendance, voiced their concerns at the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday.
“I don’t see how folks who are sitting here in this room are just OK pushing forward with this complete bastardization of a development plan,” said Michael Marx, who lives in Ferguson Township near the border with Patton.
It’s an “abomination. It’s unbelievable,” he said.
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The development, known as Patton Crossing, would go in along 1752 N. Atherton St., the location of the former Penn State Mobile Home Park, according to development plans. The property was purchased in 2012, and the park closed in 2013.
The majority of that land is zoned R-3 (medium density residential), except for the front 200 feet along North Atherton that is zoned C-1 general commercial.
According to the township, the board received a request in March to consider rezoning the property to permit a development that included a mix of commercial, office, hotel and residential uses.
The proposed development includes two additional parcels, a .92-acre parcel at the intersection of Park Forest Avenue and North Atherton and a 2.1-acre parkland parcel owned by Patton Township along Park Forest Avenue. The development would cover about 30 acres total.
Robert Poole, of Atherton Street Associates, presented the concept to the supervisors on Oct. 11. The new development would include several one-story commercial buildings, such as a grocery store and restaurant; two-story buildings with commercial on the bottom and office space above; three- to five-story commercial and residential buildings; a central plaza; parking decks; and an 80-foot hotel at the south end, as previously reported.
To accomplish the concept plan, the supervisors would need to rezone the underlying property to C-2 (planned commercial). A proposed new mixed-use overlay district that permits residential uses in C-2 and changes some regulations, such as setback requirements and maximum building heights, would need to be adopted.
An online petition urging the supervisors to deny the zoning change has garnered 81 signatures and a paper petition has more than a dozen.
Board Chairman Elliot Abrams said various concerns have been brought up at previous meetings and work sessions, such as that the development is too dense, that it encroaches too much on the boundaries of the property and that an eight-story hotel “seemed questionable at best and a bad idea at worst.”
But, nothing has been decided yet, he said. The board, though, is not inclined to sell the 2 acres of township-owned parkland that is included in the development proposal, Elliot said.
Many residents expressed feelings of frustration that the board was rushing the process.
The board discussed whether it would be better to have a public hearing on the mixed-use overlay district ordinance, which requires a 30-day public comment period, in December or in the new year. They didn’t come to a conclusion Wednesday.
The supervisors will continue discussing Patton Crossing at their meeting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1.
Betsy Dupuis, township solicitor, laid out the steps that would have to happen to see the concept plan become an actual development.
First, the ordinance to establish the overlay district has to become law, she said. Then there’s a public hearing to rezone the parcel in question to follow that ordinance. Finally, there’s the land development process.
If that overlay district was approved, it could be used anywhere in the township that meets certain requirements.
Zoning is a discretionary option of the board, Dupuis said. The board has no obligation to do anything with a rezoning request.